Sermons, such as one that recently showed up in my email inbox, can remind me of how easily people can pervert passages of Scripture into works-based religion. Admittedly, I've struggled for far too many years with the idea that God would revoke my salvation if I sinned badly enough, and I've self-righteously congratulated myself much too often on my supposed obedience. Yet I always returned to the truth that the Lord considers my best efforts to be "filthy rags" in His sight (Isaiah 64:6).
The sermon correctly pointed out that Jesus calls His people to love and serve each other. Sadly, it ended there, completely overlooking the fact that we have the capacity to love and serve only by the power of the resurrected Christ. Worse, the person who preached the sermon implied that our obedience or disobedience to perform acts of love and service determines whether we go to heaven or hell.
Why the omission of salvation only through the blood of Jesus Christ? I don't know! But I praise Him that, in fact, He did die for me, securing my place in heaven. If I love and serve, I do so out of gratitude for what He did for me.