Wednesday, August 30, 2023


August 27, 2023

Are We Good Enough?

Romans 3:21-23

What we are looking at this morning was inspired by something

I saw on TV while we were gone last week. I have a bad habit of

feeling the need to have the television on when I go to bed.

Cathy does not want the television on and I would probably

either feel more guilty or try harder to go to sleep with the TV

off if it was not for the fact that most nights within minutes,

almost seconds, of Cathy’s head hitting the pillow she is asleep.

When I ask her how she can do that, she simply says “That’s

what I go to bed for. To sleep.”

Anyway, one of the first nights we were gone I woke up during

the early morning hours and there was a guy on TV speaking to

an audience about Christians. I did not see the beginning of this

broadcast so I do not know if it explained who he was

specifically talking to or not, but I became interested in what he

was saying so I continued to watch. He seemed to be talking to

a group that apparently had a lot of people in it who were not

professing Christians. He basically seemed to be attacking

current Christians for what he claimed most all believed. He

was saying Christians believe if they do good over 50% of the

time that that is enough to satisfy God. If you do alright 60 or

70% of the time, that really is good and that is good enough for

God. That is what he was implying, virtually every professing

Christian today believes. I continued to listen. I was thinking, “Is

he right? Is that what most believers actually believe?” I was

convinced this must be some atheist or agnostic, someone who

is not a real Christian. He was basically virtually throwing every

modern-day Christian under the bus, saying every Christian

today is a hypocrite who has convinced themselves that being a

basically good person most of the time satisfies God.

I may have mentioned this before but once upon a time 40+

years ago that attitude was in a way my attitude. After all, I

went to church almost every Sunday and tried to be a good

person, so I felt I was doing more than most of the people in

America and around the world so God has to respect the effort,

doesn’t he? During that time in my life 40 years ago, the Lord

led me to really read His word. Then at the church in LaPlace at

that time we had a young adult Sunday School class led by Fern

Doolin who encouraged us to look truly at God’s word for truth

and direction. During that time my thoughts and my attitudes

began to change. The Lord led me to scriptures like what we

read this morning in Romans 3:23. That all have sinned and

have fallen short of the glory of God. I had to concede that yes,

that means you, Larry. So, as I continued to seek answers, I was

led to more and more scriptures that sometimes seemed to

give the answers I needed and sometimes seemed to make

things more confusing. I was led to what is said in Ephesians

2:8-9. I like the way it is said in the King James version where it

says: “For we are saved by grace through faith and that not of

yourselves, it is the gift of God and not of works lest any man

should boast.” So here I was being told it is only by God’s grace

that I am saved. It does not matter how good I am or how good

I think I am that saves me. Then I was led to the scripture in

James 2 verse 14-26 where we see a somewhat different story

being told than what is said in Ephesians. I am not going to read

all those verses but in verse 26, we see the point of what is

being said. Again, because I like the flow of the King James

version, I will share that version with you. Verse 26 simply says,

“As the body without the spirit is dead, faith without works is

dead also.”

These three sets of scripture are what the Lord has used in my

life to keep me focused, but as I listened to this man speaking

to a group of what seemed to be primarily people who weren’t

professing Christians, I kept wondering, “Where is he going with

this? Is he right?” He seemed to be saying to not worry about

Christians, they are no better off than anyone who is not a

Christian. I thought, “Is this guy similar to the people John and

Jude were warning about trying to slip something else in to

people who are willing to listen?” Finally in the final 5 or 10

minutes of the broadcast he got to it. He explained everyone is

on a level playing field. He did state that the only way anyone is

good enough is because of what Jesus did for us all on the

cross. It all comes down to us receiving and accepting that

mercy and grace shown to us and spoken of in Romans 5:8,

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this while we

were yet sinners Christ died for us.” So finally, this man got to

the heart of what Christianity is all about.

As I still was thinking of what he had said through most of the

broadcast I had to ask myself the question that seemed to be

his main focus. Do most Christians believe being a basically

good person is all we need to be saved? Did this man really

believe most Christians think being good 60 to 70% of the time

is what God is okay with? So, as I searched myself for what I felt

this man and perhaps God was challenging me to think about, I

am asking you to answer the same question. If we do good

most of the time is that good enough? Are most professing

Christians hypocrites as this guy seemed to imply? Do we

believe it is the things we do that saves us or is it what God did

for us that saves us? If it is what God did for us, what does that


We are going to stop it here this morning. We will pick it up at

this point next Sunday. As God has challenged me to look at

myself and what I believe, I ask you this week to answer these

questions for yourself as well. Can we be good enough on our

own? If so, what does that mean to you? If not, if we believe

we need God’s saving action, what does that mean? The other

big question is are we Christians too often viewed as hypocrites

by the unbelieving world? If you think that might be true, why

do you think that is and how can we change that belief?

Pastor Larry


Sunday School 9:00

Tuesdays 9:30 Bible Study

August 30 11:30 Women’s Fellowship luncheon—Judy’s Kitchen--RSVP to Nancy Born Martin

August 30 Newsletter submission deadline

September 6 School supplies deadline

September 13 Board Meeting

Needed: Children’s message volunteers. Sign up in back.



Donation Box: AC bills

First Sundays: food donations for food banks

Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362


Keep in Your Prayers


Pam and Tom; Iva Traughber Brunner; Nora Hanaver; Jonah Martina; Jan Bower; Larry Traxler; Michelle West; Michelle’s mom; Carolyn Hirsch; Eli Brunner; Nancy Fansler; Doug Larrick; Ron & Kathleen Petersen; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Tina Wilhelm; Mindy Sawyer; Carl and Wilma Cable; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker;  Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Patty Cripe; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; healthcare workers and first responders; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; shut-ins; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Maui fire victims

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Oak Grove congregation and for the Church of the Brethren Global Food Initiative.

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