Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered December 13, 2003 by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Are You a Saint?

I would like to speak to you this morning about sainthood. How many of you are saints, actual saints? I think I saw about three of four hands. Some of the hands are about half- way up. Hopefully after this sermon you will figure that out.

I heard H.M.S. Richards say, "I've done a lot of study and I've concluded that there will be no black people in Heaven." He went on, "And further more I've concluded that there will be no white people in heaven." And I thought, "Where is he going with this?" And he said, "From my study the only people who will be in heaven will be red people. They have been washed in the blood of the Lamb." And he was right! There aren't going to be any white people or black people, we're all going to be red people in heaven, washed in the blood of the Lamb. Jesus' blood completely covers us. This actually is the description of a saint because a saint is not somebody who is really superior. A saint is somebody who is washed in the blood of the Lamb. Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? You ought to know if you are or aren't. Have you asked Him to forgive your sins? You should know if you're a saint or not. A saint is one who is covered with Jesus' blood."

Come to Colossians 1:14 (KJV). It's speaking about Jesus Christ. It says, ...In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. That's where your redemption is. It's in the blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus' own blood blots out our sins.

I think it would be neat if everyone coming in to church, the actual saints had a halo over their heads and it was all lit up, you know. Then you could say, "Yes, there's one, there's one over there." We would know, wouldn't we. Well, we can know who the saints are. I've heard some say that saints are those who will walk on the streets of gold up in Heaven. Some think nobody is a saint today. You don't just reach sainthood. Even Mother Teresa, the Catholic Church hasn't pronounced her a saint yet. And the most popular Saint is one that kids talk about at Christmas time: Saint Nicholas. But I will tell you the truth: many saints are alive right now. In fact, a saint is somebody who has been born again and accepted Jesus as their Savior. Look at Psalm 16. This will tell you where the saints are. Where do saints live? Do you know the address of a saint? Psalm 16:3. (NIV), As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight. The saints are here in the land. The saints are right here, the excellent ones, the ones that He regards, His children. A saint is just a child of God.

So, the saints are alive now, aren't they. The Saints live right here on this earth right now. They are the Godly people now living in the land. They are Godly because they are covered with the blood of Jesus, not because of their own efforts. Do you know of someone who you would consider a saint? I do. I've known many that I was just sure they were saints because they were so saintly. Of course they would not admit they are saints. You can ask anybody, "Are you a saint?" And they will say, "Well, I don't know. Well, yes, we should know.

Here's a statement from My Life Today, p. 273. "God takes none to heaven but those who are first made saints in this world through the grace of Christ." We are made where? Right here in this old sinful world. How are saints made? "Through the grace of Christ". By His grace; not by our works but by His grace. That's how we are made into saints.

So Saints are created. I've had a lot of people that have said, "God is really something. He can create all these worlds out of nothing." Well, I would submit to you that when God makes a saint, that's even a greater feat because when He makes a world, e makes it out of nothing, but when He makes a saint He makes it out of something that is unsaintly, less than nothing. So He starts with something really bad. That's an amazing thing. If the truth were known, some of the greatest saints in this world have been some of the greatest sinners, and we are all sinners.

In fact, there are saints are right here in our church today. 1 Corinthians 14:33. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.

As in all the congregations of the saints. The saints are in the congregation. They congregate together. They attend church if they are physically able. They do not skip church to do their own thing. Saints put God first in priority. That's what the saints do. Psalm 89:5. The heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones. (The haggiai, the saints.) The Saints assemble to worship God in church. They like to assemble. They like to congregate together to worship God. Psalm 149:1 Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints. The saints assemble together to worship. That's what you have done here this morning. You have assembled together. You like to assemble together to worship the Lord. That's a saint. They assemble together. They come as often as possible. I've baptized many a person who has told me, "You know, If the doors of the church are going to be open, I'm going to be there if it's a meeting for me." A saint commits to be in church for every service.

The surest steps toward happiness in this world are the church steps. All Saints go to church but not everyone in church is a saint.

It was Jesus' habit there in Luke 4:16. ...He went into the synagogue , as was His custom." He went to church on the Sabbath day and participated. So that's a good habit. That's what the saints do.

Saints are a giving people. Come to Psalm 50:5. Here's another habit that the saints have: "Gather my saints together unto me; those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." God's saints sacrifice for Gods church. You may say, "I've paid my tithe today. I've sacrificed. Well, it may be a sacrifice to pay your tithe. But that is not giving to the Lord because the tithe belongs to God. It doesn't belong to us. So, when you pay your tithe, you're just returning what is God's back to Him. So, if you really want to sacrifice, give something to Him, that would be an offering; giving Him something that is not already His.

Saints are happy. Psalm 149:5 (KJV). Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Do you sing in bed? I hear some people sing in the shower. But the saints sing in their beds. What an amazing thing. Your wife wakes you up and you're singing.

The next time you look in the mirror, look to see if you resemble a saint. The saints have a lot of joy. They sing on their beds. They're happy. Happier faces are seen on bottles of Iodine than on some so-called Saints. We are not refugees from a pickle jar. We are saints. Saints are supposed to smile and be happy people and they sing aloud upon their beds. True happiness is a blend of gratitude, service, obedience, and saintly contentment or patience. I truly believe that God's remnant people have the capability of being the happiest people on the earth. Do you? They ought to be because they know Jesus. They're a saint, and that's the basis of joy. We have something to do, someone to love, something to look forward to and a heaven that is coming soon. Our basis of gladness is Christ.

Psalm 132 speaks about the saints. Psalm 132:9. ...may your saints sing for joy. So the saints are a happy people.

Saints are also sort of blind! God gives Saints special eyes that when they look at someone they admire something in them. They can find good even in the worst criminals. They pray for them. This delivers them from the burden of judging or condemning others.

Saints are thankful people. "Who is the greatest saint in the world? It is not he who prays most or fasts most; it is not he who gives most alms, or is most eminent for temperance, chastity, or justice; but it is he who is always thankful to God, who wills everything that God wills, who receives everything as an instance of God's goodness, and has a heart always ready to praise God for it." - William Law

Saints serve. Psalm 79:2 speaks about the saints. It calls them a certain term. You put these two together in this whole verse where it speaks about the saints. They have given the dead bodies of your servants as food to the birds of the air, the flesh of your saints to the beasts of the earth. There's a synonym. What's the synonym in this verse for "saint?" It's "servant." We are a servant. Saints are servants. That's the service of sainthood. A saint is somebody who serves the Lord and his fellow men. Someone has said, "A saint is like a wheelbarrow. They only go when they are pushed." That's not true. A saint is somebody who does serve, somebody who is willing, who wants to serve, who volunteers. That's a saint.

A farmer dug a pond to water his flocks. He was disappointed because in the summer his pond was dried up and in the winter it was frozen like a lake of ice. It did not serve his needs. How does God look at us? When He really needs a servant, do we ice over, do we dry up? Saints are servants of God, people that God can trust.

A genuine saint is like a good pocket watch, he has an open face, busy hands, and is made up of pure gold. He is well regulated, and is full of good works. His goal is to be a blessing to his Master. He is connected to His Master by the golden chain of love.

I will tell you something that is not a saint: That's my computer. My computer is owned by the McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church so it is a church computer. Now, you would think that a church computer would be a saint because it is owned by the church. But every now and then, up flashes a message on the screen saying: "You have performed and illegal operation. Now, that's not very saintly is it? Imagine such a thing happening right here in the McDonald Road Church. At that point I at least admire my computer for being honest. It did admit it did perform an illegal operation, but then it acts even more un- saintly. It says: "I'm going to shut down!" I think: "You can't do that! You belong to Jesus. Here you are in His church and you say you are going to quit. How outrageous! You are supposed to be so smart with all your gigahertz of brain power. You should know that Saint's do not quit. They are patient. Revelation 14:12 says, This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. Saints remain! They don't quit!" And it quits anyway. My computer doesn't have any patience. It does all this illegal stuff and then it just quits. is not a saint; I can tell you that.

Saints do not retire. Now, some of you might be retired. But a saint does not retire from Jesus. Some churches are plagued with 'retired Saints'. Too many saints wish to be counted in, but not counted on. Can Jesus count on you? God's church is not supposed to be a retirement home for saints but an opportunity for saints to serve.

Saints are not perfect yet. God gives pastors, God gives teachers to the churches. Why? One reason is listed in Ephesians 4:11,12: It was He Who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until they reach unity in the faith. So it's for the perfecting of the saints. Do saints need perfecting? Are saints already perfect? They're not perfect, are they. They need perfecting. They're still saints but they need perfecting. So, don't ever think that a saint is perfect yet. We all need perfecting. The church is a hospital for sinners, not a club for impeccable faultless saints.

Saints do have problems. In 1Corinthians 1 Paul is writing to ...the sanctified... (vs 2). But in verse 11 he says: ...there are quarrels (contentions) among you. Saints have contentions. Did you ever have an argument in your house? Did you ever have contention in your house? You might think, "Well, I'm not a saint today." Well you could even be because you aren't perfect yet. Very obviously Saints are not perfectly holy yet. A saint has not lost the power to sin but is developing a growing distaste and even a hatred for sin. They still have the power to sin but they are getting away from it more and more You've heard of the book Pilgrims Progress. Some so called "Christians" can't be called pilgrims because they never make any progress. Saints are making progress. Maybe it's slow sometimes, but they are making progress.

Mrs. EG White says in Adventist Home, p. 16.2: "If you would be a saint in heaven, you must first be a saint on earth. The traits of character you cherish in life will not be changed by death or by the resurrection. You will come up from the grave with the same disposition you manifested in your home and in society. Jesus does not change the character at His coming. The work of transformation must be done now. Our daily lives are determining our destiny."

Basically it sounds like this earth is the garden where the saints are grown, doesn't it. This is where it happens. It happens right here in the church. God cannot make a bad person do good any more than you could make a coyote act like a happy little puppy dog with a wagging tail, or an vulture behave like a dove. But if you chose to be like Jesus and if you daily behold Him, you will slowly but surely become a kind Christlike Saint. God doesn't make you what you don't want to be. But if you ask Him then He can make you, He can change you if you ask Him. You will never have perfect behavior this side of heaven. Some saints are far weaker than others but they are still saints. Why? Because they have chosen Jesus as their Saviour and they love Jesus and are slowly but surely growing to be more like Him.

"Through divine strength the weakest saint is more than a match for him (Satan) and all his angels." - FILB 318. There are weak saints, but even the weakest is more than a match for the devil. So, some saints are weaker than other saints because they have not grown as much. Maybe they haven't been in the message as long. Maybe they haven't been Christians as long. They have chosen Jesus as their Savior but they're still growing to be more like Him. And that's what we want to do: to be more like Jesus.

Saints are a praying group. Revelation 5:8 speaks of the prayers of the saints. A true Saint is like a field of ripening corn: The riper he grows, the lower he bows his head. Have you ever driven by the corn fields? I grew up in Indiana and in the fall of the year those corn heads began to go down and they bow down to the earth. When they are fully bowed it is time to harvest the crop. The saints bow their heads in prayer.

Saints are humble. You've probably noticed that. If you ask saintly folk, "Are you a saint?" They often answer, "No, I'm not a saint." Well, they are. Paul said in Ephesians 3:8 that he was the least of the saints. Martin Luther said he was a worm. Now, did Martin Luther call himself a worm because he enjoys being wormy? The saint does not call himself a worm because he enjoys being wormy, but because there is simply no other way graphic enough to express the richness of God and the meagerness of man. He was humble. Saints are humble.

So if you would like to see a saint, go home and look in the mirror. If you see the marks of Jesus growing in your face, more and more like Jesus, you're a saint if you are His child.

Saints are obedient. Revelation 14:12. This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. So, why do they keep the commandments? Because they love Him. Because they love Jesus. A saint is somebody that loves Jesus.

I want to give you several special blessings that God want to give to you. Special blessings are in store for the saints:

Psalm 37:28. For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake His faithful ones. They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off. The righteous will inherit the land and will dwell in it forever.

Psalm 34:9. Fear the LORD, you His saints, for those who fear Him lack nothing.

You are one of His saints. You really are if you are His child. A saint is a child of God. A saint is someone who has been born again, has accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. Sarah Honeycut was just baptized. Is she a saint? Yes, she's a saint. Yes, she's a child of God.

Have you given your life to God? You are saved. Now, you may do some unsaintly things sometimes, but if you are striving to love Jesus more, to surrender your life to Him more, to fulfill more of His purpose in your life, then you're a saint. That doesn't mean that you will always do everything perfectly. But you are a saint if Jesus is your focus, your love, your joy. If you enjoy attending church, if you enjoy fellow shipping together, if you enjoy assembling together, congregating together, all of these things we have talked about, then you're a saint. You are, because of those things.

So, will there be white people in heaven? Will there be black people? No, we'll all be red people, saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. Saints because of His blood. That's what entitles you to sainthood.

When the saints go marching in, I'll tell you, I want to be among that number. Right now God's saint are marching in, right into church, into service, and into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

Hymn of Praise: #120, There's a Song in the Air
Scripture: Psalm 16:2,3
Hymn of Response: #125, Joy to the World


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