Romans 9:31-32 (NLT) 31 But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded. 32 Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by works instead of by trusting in Him.

After this morning, I hope you are convinced to stop trying.

There are over 100 passages in the Bible that tell us that we cannot earn anything from God, but it only took Martin Luther one to realize that he needed to stop trying and trust in God instead. Trust that the words were true that he read in Ephesians 2:8-9 that said “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” and he realized that he did not have to pay money any more nor say a particular prayer dozens of times to earn his salvation from God or to have the wrong things he had done forgiven by God. So you too in 2016 as your new year’s resolution can stop trying.

Here are a few more passages on how we need to stop trying:

Isaiah 1:17-18 “17 Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. 18 ‘Come now, let’s settle this,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.’”

Isaiah 12:2, 43:11, 45:22, 53:4-6

Job 25:4

Ezekiel 33:13

Ecclesiastes 7:20

Jeremiah 17:15

In Philippians 3:9, Paul writes to the Christians in Philippi to stop trying: “I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through the faithfulness of Christ. For God’s way of making us right with Himself depends on faith.”

Paul writes to Titus to tell him to stop trying. Titus 3:5 “He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.”

Titus 3:7, 2:11

Acts 4:12 “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

Acts 10:1-43, 13:39, 15:10-11, 16:30-31, 26:18

1 John 2:2, 4:14, 5:13

The writer of Hebrews tells us to stop trying right at the start of the book in chapter 1 verse 3: “The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and He sustains everything by the mighty power of His command. When He had cleansed us from our sins, He sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.”

Hebrews 2:3, 2:9-10, 2:14-15, 2:17, 4:9-10, 5:9, 6:1, 7:25, 9:12-14, 9:22, 9:28, 10:10-12, 10:14, 10:17-18

Paul writes to the Christians in Galatia to stop trying. Galatians 2:16 “Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”

Galatians 1:4, 2:21, 3:10, 3:21, 3:24, 5:1-4

2 Corinthians 1:9-10, 5:21

Ephesians 1:7, 1:12-13, 2:4-5, 4:32

1 Timothy 1:15, 2:5-6, 4:10

Colossians 2:14

2 Timothy 1:9-10

1 Peter 1:3-5, 3:18

Revelation 1:5

James tells us to stop trying too. James 2:10 “For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.”

So, here’s how you can stop trying and trust in God.

If you were to die today, are you 100% sure you would go to Heaven?

For those who are not sure, this is why we try. We try to do things. We try to be things. We need to stop trying. We must realize that what keeps us from going to Heaven are our sins, because Isaiah 59:2 says “…your sins have separated you from God.” Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” We have to stop trying. There is nothing we can do or be to save ourselves and earn Heaven. In Jesus’ own words “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” in John 14:6.

He also repeated Himself a few times in John 1:12-13, 5:24, 6:28-29, 8:24, 10:1, 19:30, and in Matthew 5:20, 7:21-23, 11:28-30, 18:11, 19:25-26 and in Luke 7:49-50, 18:9-14.

That’s what the end of Luke chapter 11 said to us last Sunday and why we celebrated an empty Christmas on Christmas Eve on Thursday. Romans 5:8 says “…while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 1:16, 3:10, 3:12, 3:20, 3:22-25, 3:27-28, 4:2-7, 4:22-25, 5:1, 5:9-10, 5:17-18, 8:3-4, 8:7-8, 10:3, 10:10-13, 11:6

The decision to trust in God is ours because He gave us freewill when He created us. He also gave us the ability to feel emptiness that is to be filled by Him. We have to stop trying by ourselves and stop trusting in ourselves and decide to trust in God. That takes a mind change to admit that we have to stop trying on our own and believing and saying that Jesus is all we can trust (Romans 10:9). That’s why now and in 2016, we have to stop trying on our own and by ourselves.

If you need more personal evidence that Jesus is worthy of your trust, nearly a year ago some of us wrote a Bible passage on a 3×5 card and taped it to the right vertical frame of our white board in church. We may have forgotten what we wrote. But God didn’t. Pull that card out. Read it. Reflect on what He did for you as a result of that prayer. Today is the 4th Sunday of the month so we take communion together. Communion is about remembering what Jesus did for us, from His birth we celebrate in this season to His death for us so we would not have to be separated from a Holy God any longer. Because we could not do it ourselves. As you reflect, take the communion elements on your own. Those elements are His broken body and shed blood for you. Then, thank Him that we can stop trying and put our trust in Him.

Romans 9:31-32 (NLT) 31 But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded. 32 Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by works instead of by trusting in Him.