“What Can I Do?”  I Peter 4:7-11

Stewardship Sunday  October 15-16, 2022

“What Can I Do?”  I Peter 4:7-11

Rev. John R. Larson  Ascension Lutheran Church  Littleton, Colorado

             He’s done it all, hasn’t He?  God.  I’m talking about God.  God has done it all.  He made us and everything.  He designed everything so marvelously – from the little spiders who are trying desperately to find a home somewhere in our house before the real cold of fall and winter arrives, to the gift of trees that turn golden and burgundy during these days.  He is mighty and powerful.  With full confidence we say, “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.”

            Our Savior, Jesus, has done it all.  In the hymn, “Rock of Ages” we sing this, “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.  Naked, come to Thee for dress; helpless, look to Thee for grace; foul, I to the fountain fly; wash me, Savior, or I die.”  (LSB 761 verse 3)

            Jesus has done everything to allow us to say, “I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.”  Jesus came to earth to be the world’s Redeemer.  He went to the cross to carry our burdens and sins.  He rose from the dead to give us life when we die.  Do you get it?  Never tire of it.  Never get bored with us.  Always stand in humble amazement that Jesus did all that for you.

            He’s done it all.  Creator.  Provider.  Savior.  Friend.  This passage from Ephesians says it pretty clearly, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”  (2:8-9)

            He’s done it all.  A great Father.  A welcoming Son.  And then an ambitious Holy Spirit.  Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He told those who were His, “You are witnesses of these things.  I am going to send you what my Father has promised, but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”  (Luke 24:48-49)  God’s Spirit dwells within these bones and allows us to live a confident, vibrant life.

            All of us are people of faith.  Faith in what?  Faith that our God has done it all.  We rest in knowing Him, and His power, and His eternal saving, and His sure promises.  We are secure is knowing that the Lord’s Holy Spirit is our strength to live our life in this world.

            So, I guess we can just go home.  Right?  But the Broncos don’t play until tomorrow, so we have no need to hurry home to watch one of their exciting games!!  He’s done it all – there is no doubt about that.  But here is the rest of the story, at least for today – He’s done it all so we can do it all.  Understand me clearly here – we don’t add anything to His gift of salvation – that is all His doing, but we do amazing things now that we are His people, under new ownership.  By our doing we can’t take away sin or have the assurance that eternal life is most certainly ours, but we are called to a new life.  

            Do you know this one?  “For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.  If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord.  So whether we live or we die, we belong to the Lord.”  (Romans 14:7-8)  Every day we live we live it to our Lord.  We are called to be fully committed to Him.  Also, in Romans we read, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.”  (12:1) 

            He’s done it all, and now He calls us to give our whole self to Him and to others.  There is no place for a selfish Christian.  There is no place for a self-absorbed believer.  Our reading for today is from I Peter 4, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.  If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides.”  (Verses 10-11a)

            God has gifted everyone of you with amazing gifts.  Some of you are in the medical field, business field, we have teachers and administrators, some stay at home to work, and others serve in other ways.  Use your gifts.  Don’t become inactive.  Don’t think you have nothing to offer this church, this community, or your family and friends.  “Each one of you should use whatever gift he has received to serve others.”

            Beau Wolfer died on August 20 – about 2 months ago.  God gave him 94 years of life.  Do you know what he started doing somewhere around 90 years of age?  He started blessing the lives of old people by taking his skills in art and making cards for the home-bound.  I’d deliver Beau’s cards and those receiving them found places to display them.  Beau couldn’t (and shouldn’t) drive anymore in those last years but he found something to do that served others so well from the safety of his own home.

            Paul says this, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.  If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it is proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is in teaching, let him teach; if it is in encouraging, let him encourage; if it is in contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is in leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is in showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”  (Romans 12:6-8)

            He did it all for us and now we give our all for Him and for the good of others.  No selfish Christians.  No self-absorbed Christians.  Paul, a strong proponent of living a sacrificial life says, “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”  (II Corinthians 5:15)  In the hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” we find these words in the final verse, “Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a tribute far too small; love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.” (LSB 425, verse 4)

            This little place in God’s kingdom needs you.  We can’t do what God wants to happen here without you.  He has given to you some talents, some time, some abilities, please use them well.  Use them here, as well.  God has given to you money, some of us have less and some of us have more, use your money in a wise and godly manner.  Give some of your money away, some here and then to other charities, not from the bottom of your budget, but from the very first, as a priority. 

            When Peter begins his letter everything he says is “Theo-Centric”.  That phrase means that God is at the very center.  As I said a thousand words ago, “He’s done it all.”  Peter begins, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”  (1:3)  Later, in the same chapter, Peter would say, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.”  (1:23)  God has done it all. 

            And now that God has called us to give ourselves into purposeful service, we are told why we do it.  Peter, in our text says, “If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”  (I Peter 4:11b)

            This directive of God receiving the praise for a fruitful,

God-pleasing life, is what Jesus said on the Sermon on the Mount, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”  (Matthew 5:16)

            What can I do?  In faith you can take pleasure in trusting that Jesus has completed your salvation, you are secure in Him.  What can I do?  The Bible says, “Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.”  (Ephesians 5:8b-9)  What can I do?  You can say, and speak, and shout, your thanks to God for what He has done and does and will do for you.  Your life will bring honor to Him.

            This is a good day.  This is God’s day in our life.  Amen!!    






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