Before there is rejoicing there is weeping. Repentance comes first. In our lives and in the lives of anyone who needs grace, repentance is first. Repenting – the “I’m sorry”; “I screwed up”; “I was wrong”; “I’m to blame.” It is when we turn from evil and turn to God. It is when we are broken and in pieces. There is rejoicing when one sinner repents. You want to make God happy? Repent. You want to make angels happy? Repent. You want to make your wife or husband, your friend or co-worker happy? Repent. You want to be happy? Repent. We turn from ourselves and we seek the cleansing from God. When we read the word, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them”, we have a sense of peace that we have found the place of safety and life.View Sermon
How far does grace go? It comes right to you, right to me, directly from heaven. When we ask God for His forgiveness, when we repent of sin and seek His cleansing, He joyfully gives it and we humbly receive it. It is a gift. When we ask for eternal salvation, a mansion in heaven, we receive the key to open the door because Jesus willingly died for us and rose from death. Our faith begins vertically. From heaven comes our Savior to us, our faith makes those gifts ours. Like I preached on July 21, We beg of God, “Forgive us our sins.”View Sermon
What about living? Before we die and head to glory we have to live with more than we can handle by self. How will you live? Live in faith. Your eyes will look to see your Savior, your Lord and your God. Habakkuk tells we truly live when we live by faith, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18)View Sermon
The passage that I base my message on is I Corinthians 15:25-26, “For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” The last enemy is death. Death was not part of God’s good plan for mankind. This whole process of dying, getting older, catching some disease, becoming diminished in abilities, physically or mentally, and then to have soul separate from body, was never God’s plan for us. Paul states, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12) Paul doesn’t look at death as some harmless event. In this great I Corinthians chapter he says that death has a vicious sting, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” (I Corinthians 15:56) In Hebrews 2 it says that it is the devil who holds the power of death. (See Hebrews 2:15)View Sermon
God doesn’t rescue those who don’t want to be rescued. Judgement
comes upon those who turn back. Yet, for you and me there is no reason to
turn back. The hellfire and brimstone came down upon Jesus 2,000 years
ago. He was the victim of God’s wrath upon the cross of Calvary. Because
of Jesus we are cleansed of our sins. There is no reason to turn back.
Here’s some good advice: Don’t get too attached to the things of this
world. We’re on a journey. We’re going someplace. Time is passing by. It
won’t be long. Don’t give up now because heaven is just around the corner.
Our Lord is guiding us every step of the way. Yes, sometimes we are weak
and weary. Some of us are burdened down with battle scars. But don’t turn
back now. Take the Lord’s arm. Believe His Word. Rely on His power. It
won’t be long before we’ll be home. And one more thing. Let’s do all we
can to bring our unbelieving friends and relatives to Jesus while there is
still time. It’s vitally important. It’s eternally important.
God’s purpose in life is to save us, forgive us, give us a new life. He wants to touch our lips, put new words in our mouth. I liked what Pastor Crabbe said, “Homosexuality doesn’t get me into hell just as heterosexuality doesn’t get me into heaven. It’s WHO my Savior is that gets me anywhere.” Last week our epistle from Corinthians destroyed and built. Listen to these great words, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (I Corinthians 6:9-11)View Sermon
By faith, and by God’s grace, you can walk on the waters of this stormy life amidst all our sins when you walk with Jesus, the only One who is perfect, the only One who could pay for your sins and mine, and He did, and who has a plan for your life, an abundant life. If your Savior is the One who died on a cross and rose again from the dead, then I know where you’re going, to Heaven. It’s not my heterosexuality or homosexuality that saves or condemns. Because both those things can lead me astray. I can have sex with someone who is not my God-given spouse, man or woman, and when I choose that, to disobey God, that leads me away from God and can eventually lead me to the conclusion I can be my own god, I can set my own rules, just like Adam and Eve did with the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Yes, they ate the forbidden fruit, and that was wrong, a sin. But what they were really doing was walking away from God and becoming their own gods, with their own rules, and that destroyed them. It changed who they were. They found out quickly that their decision to go it on their own was a complete disaster.View Sermon
To everyone of us who has a problem that is much bigger than us, it is not too big for God. In fact, nothing is too big for God. There was this guy who had everything going for him. He was a millennial. Good looking. Rich. Ate at the right places. Hung out with the right people. But he had a big problem – he just couldn’t follow Jesus. He liked what Jesus did, but Jesus was asking much too much of him. After this encounter Jesus said of this, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, ‘Who then can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” (Matthew 19:23-26)View Sermon
Forgiveness is for giving. Even when it is hard. Even when the person who sinned against you doesn’t deserve it, we are told to forgive. Jeff Gibbs, Professor at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis writes, “There is an important spiritual distinction between finding it hard (or even for a time, being unable) to forgive and being unwilling to do so. There are times when all the disciple of Jesus can offer is a broken and contrite heart: ‘I know, Lord, what you require of me, I long to do it, but cannot, unless you help me.’” (Concordia Commentary, Matthew 1:1-11:1, Pg. 336)View Sermon
Where should we start with this thought of living a God-directed balanced life – a life where we don’t forget the important things along the way? First, open our eyes and see how difficult it is to make the right choices in life. Know that the life-long struggle of the one who wrote that note, is also mine and yours. It is like Paul in Romans 7:19, “For what I do in not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.” First recognize the reality that life with it tugs on our purpose and priorities and time will always be there.View Sermon