Tag Archives: Promises of God

We are His saints, enriched by Him Matthew 5 All Saints Day First St Johns Nov 1, 2015

[For the audio of this sermon please click on the above link]

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who are saints in Christ said in a spirit of celebration and joy … AMEN

I am going to paraphrase Paul: “To the church of God that is in York, Pennsylvania to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1: 2-6)

Paul goes on to say to his brothers and sisters in Corinth as I would like to express those same sentiments to my brothers and sisters in York: “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge-even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you- so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1: 7-8)

As His Saints we win and we didn’t do anything. Because He’s overcome, we have overcome. We have overcome the world. We have overcome death. We couldn’t do any of these things ourselves. While we like to think that we are so strong that we can achieve whatever we are confronted by, deep in our hearts we know we can’t. Why do you think that there is so much fear, anger, angst around us? All of these people who know perfectly well that they just can’t confront the world. They hear the lies of the world all around them and they try to believe them. They have to. Why? Because there is nothing else for them to believe. So they accept that they are somehow gifted, strong, personally endowed with some skill that is going to enable them to make it. But when you ask them what that looks like, how did they get there and for that matter, where is there? You get bewilderment, you get frustration. They don’t know. The world’s told them a lie, that they are somehow special. But they don’t feel special, they say they are. Students in the United States today rank way below the rest of the world in math, language, science. But they do rank first in one thing, in self-esteem. They feel good about themselves. But when you confront them with the reality of what that means, they have nothing. They are somehow special, but special how? They don’t know. Those around us today can’t perceive, or maybe more accurately don’t want to perceive anything past the next event. “Well let’s see what happens after the World Series. Let’s see what happens after the next election. Let’s see what happens after the next Federal Reserve meeting. Sure we wait to see the outcome, then what happens? Pretty much where we were. Nothing much has changed. We cling to the latest stock market numbers, and then we watch as our IRA’s, our financial future drop again. We think we have a way to make money on the stock market, we might even have a little success, then the market closes and we just spent money without lifting a finger. That affects the Christian and the non-Christian. But we have Jesus to cling to. He has overcome the stock market, the housing market, the GNP, the President and the Congress.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” That’s us! Ours is the kingdom of heaven. It might not “feel” like it right now. Another thing that separates us from the world? It’s not about our feelings. It is about what Jesus has done, what He continues to do. It’s His promise of heaven and eternity. Things might not be that great for you right now. We all know perfectly well that there are Christians all over the world who are very much suffering for their witness to Christ. You see that last verse in our Gospel reading? “…for your reward is great in heaven…” We have all had days and will have days, when we don’t feel so great, when everything’s going wrong, the future looks doubtful. Are there times when we’d like to give up? Sure! But because we are saved the Holy Spirit doesn’t give up on us. Why? We are His, we aren’t allowed to give up and we won’t because the Holy Spirit saves us from ourselves. The world does not have that promise, believes Satan’s lies and gives up, gives up in the form of drugs, alcohol, sex, money, power. They honestly believe this will save them, but we all know, and they know deep inside too, it will make them slaves and condemn them.

As a saint, as one who is saved in Jesus you are saved, you have the promises of Jesus, you have new life in Jesus, you are a special, holy, sanctified person, completely saved in Jesus and the Father’s special child and you didn’t do anything to be any of that. God chose you, He saved you, He recreated you in baptism, He lifted you up from the waters of baptism a new creation in Him. He gives you His own Body and Blood. His ministers share His saving, life restoring word with you. You received all this. You should praise and glorify God for what He’s given you. But none of that is yours because of your praise or worship, it’s yours because God gave it to you in your baptism in Jesus. Randy Alcorn writes: “What God made us to desire, and therefore what we do desire if we admit it, is exactly what he promises to those who follow Jesus Christ [His Saints]: a resurrected life in a resurrected body, with the resurrected Christ on a resurrected Earth. Our desires correspond precisely to God’s plans. It’s not that we want something, so we engage in wishful thinking that what we want exists. It’s the opposite – the reason we want it is precisely because God has planned for it to exist. As we’ll see, resurrected [saints] living in a resurrected universe isn’t our idea – it’s God’s[1]

For those He has separated, not our choice, His decision. That’s something that we take to the bank. If Jim makes a decision for God what does that mean? Well did I do it the right way, did I do it at the right time? I’m fallible did I make some kind of mistake? It isn’t on me, I am hagios I am holy, separated. You and I are made to be a completely new and different being because Jesus redeemed you and me, He died for you and me, He paid for all of our sins and now we are made perfectly clean and holy. I am made to be completely acceptable to God because of Jesus. The Holy Spirit led me to be baptized and in that baptism I am cleansed from the sin I was born in and the sins I have committed in my life and made to be that new creature, His saint. Then as a part of His church, the Body of Christ, I am given His Body and Blood to strengthen me in Body and Spirit, to be newly cleansed of my sin, renewed in my Spirit. All because of what He did for us, nothing of what we did. We therefore have that assurance that because God did it that it’s done, completely right, totally in His power and none of it in ours. There can’t be a mistake, because of that we have complete assurance that Jesus is the Lord of our lives, in this worldly life and in the true life that is eternal and perfect in the resurrection. Journal about it for the next week, what does it mean to you to be a[gioj completely clean in Christ, how does that compare to what you see in the rest of the world, why is this a reason to give thanks, to praise and glorify our Savior Jesus Christ?

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom

[1] Alcorn, Randy   Heaven  pp 7-8

The Ocean is deep but doesn’t come close to the depth of the love of Jesus Genesis 9: 8-17 First St Johns July 26, 2015

[For the audio of this sermon please click on SoundCloud icon]

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who know the promises of God said … AMEN

This is one of those passages that the world likes to say is some kind of fable, mythology. The church hasn’t done a very good job with these Genesis passages either, letting them be some sort of similes or parables. Too many like to back off and say it didn’t really happen, but makes for good Sunday school material. The adults really don’t believe this stuff. The church has, essentially rejected, what God has given it to teach as truth. There was a Noah, that there was a world-wide flood, that there were people on the earth who needed to be destroyed because they had become so profoundly evil and irredeemable and that God then made a subsequent promise/covenant with Noah. Where He promised that He would never destroy the world again, through a flood. He will destroy the world again, as we see in the Book of Revelation, what was probably the last book of biblical revelation, but when He destroys the world again, it will be for the final time. In it’s place we will have the resurrection, where we and the world will be made into a place that God intended it to be and for us to be what we were intended to be. There will be no sin, no death, no fighting, there won’t be people creating artificial, phoney debates, we will all be one Body, God’s agents in creating a perfect world, where there will be few limitations, where as I’ve said many times, we will have life and life more abundant, Jesus’ words.

But today, the world, Satan, love to hijack what God gives us and apply it to the things of the world. God is, obviously, the most creative, the most uplifting, positive element in creation. He created everything, we are all pretty much in agreement that even in the evil, fallen, world, there is still amazing beauty, staggering evidence of God’s genius, His incredible creativity. As we go into space, we will see more evidence then we already know. Even now we are receiving pictures from the “dwarf-planet” Pluto, which is now bigger than was thought, that is showing some amazing aspects of that planet. But we love to live in denial about Noah’s story, because after all, we’re in charge, we call the shots. This bizarre idea that it’s all subject to democratic vote and the world’s not going to end because we say so, we have the technology, we moved beyond God’s will, if His will was ever a factor to begin with.

Noah’s ark and a world wide flood is an event that many feel is limited to this one fable from a people in the middle east and really has had no effect beyond that tiny group of people. That is also a fallacy that the world likes to live in ignorance of. Virtually every people in the world have a story about a devastating, all destructive flood and a man or family that were guided by God to save a remnant of people and animals. The geological evidence that has been discovered in very recent time, points to such a flood. The historical and geological evidence, again, destroys the worldly/Satanic lie that this is only a fable, it really did happen.

The upside to the flood is Yahweh’s words to Noah: “I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood,…” this is God’s first covenant, His first contract, promise with His creation. His subsequent promises will be to Abraham, to David, then finally Jesus, God the Son, who in His word says what I will be repeating in a few minutes: “In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Cor 11:25) This is the covenant Jesus makes with us, His people, those who have been given new life, have been saved from the death of sin in the world. His promise “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (1 Cor 11:26) that He will return, that He will save those who are in Him, His Body, His church, and they will be restored to true life in the resurrection. After Noah, He tells Abram, that he will be the father of many nations, an old man who had no children at all. He tells King David that the Messiah, the Savior of man-kind will not only be born and deliver His people, but that Messiah, that anointed one of God will be David’s direct descendant.

But the world, in its cutesy way to continually undermine God, takes a symbol that God said is an “everlasting covenant”, of life, of a world of hope and promise and the world has turned it into a symbol of its own lusts and its hatred of God and His will, that is the symbol of the rainbow.

As I’ve said before, we shouldn’t be surprised when the world does things like this, it is the world, it is unsaved and doomed. The world has no promise, no hope. As the Prince of the world, Satan knows his destiny, he knows he is doomed to eternal destruction along with those who also refuse, defy and hate God. Satan has no compunction to take those who are also doomed and use them as pawns to further his fight against God in the world, to guide them to use God’s symbols in an evil way, to deny God’s teachings, such as Noah, and to turn them into symbols that lead us to believe it is all about us, that we are God, that we can do whatever we please, regardless of the consequences to us and those around us.

The non-believer wags his finger at God and says “how could God destroy the earth, He must be evil!” They will stipulate to a destruction story if that gives them a reason to spew their hatred against God. But they will not accept that God is serious, He has a people whom He does want to save and establish a world that will be perfect. He is showing all of us, He is not going to tolerate a sinful and base world filled with evil people. If people continue to be so willfully evil, as we see all-around us at this time in history, He will destroy it again and leave those who are condemned to face the penalty of their sins which is eternal condemnation.

God the Father is a loving, merciful, compassionate God. He has shared His promises with us, His Word, the Bible is filled with hope, promise. His Son Jesus Christ came that we would have life and life more abundant, not only in this world, but where it truly matters, to all eternity. We who are in Christ know that we have the promise that through Him we have forgiveness, we need forgiveness, because God is truly Holy, righteous and just. He does not tolerate sin and in His creation in the New Jerusalem, He will not tolerate sin. His new creation will only be populated by those who are saved in Jesus. We who are righteous, only in Jesus, because of the price that He paid, His perfect life, a ransom for many, that gives us the promise of eternal life.

What other things does the world promise us, what other symbols, what other failures of the world do we tolerate because, well we just all want to get along? We are not here to compromise with the world, because the world is wrong, sinful, seriously messed up. We do not buy into the world’s story, because we have the true story. The world likes to tell us that the story of Noah and Jesus are fables, that the stories of Darwin, Marx and the Kardashians are real and that’s what we should trust in. Take a step away from the nonsense of the world, can we all get along? In reality, not really. We reach out into the world with the love and mercy of Jesus, the world loves to think that it’s so tolerant, but when Jesus, the cross and His church comes up you can see the hate and poison in the eyes of the world. Despite that we do have to continue to love, serve in compassion, have mercy, but also have righteousness, assure that our witness is always for Jesus and not the things of the world. This is not going to make us popular, but John tells us, “Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.” (1 John 3:13) The world hated and still hates our Lord Jesus, it’s going to hate those who are faithful in Him. But it doesn’t matter what the world thinks, it does matter what Jesus thinks. The world can take the symbols of Christianity and try to corrupt them and try to make it in the name of tolerance, but that is a lie straight from Hell and another attempt by Satan to corrupt the church and Jesus’ people. So write in your journal about what the rainbow really means, as well as God’s other covenants, and how you can use them to show others the love of Christ that is in you.

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom.