Tuesday, August 19, 2008

“It is NEVER Too Late!"

S‑1069 08/17/2008 14SAP/3A Hymns: (O) #13; (S) #244; (C) #469

Texts: Isaiah 56:1. 6-8 Romans 11:1-2, 13-15, 28-32; Matthew 15:21-28

Theme: “It is NEVER Too Late!" (Romans 11:13-15).


Question: “Do you hate being late?”

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation is from the book of Romans. “Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?” (Rom. 11:13-15).

INTRODUCTION: Saints in Christ, there are certain events in life that we just get there too late to make a difference. A basketball game is in the final seconds. The opposing team is ahead by 2 points. Your point guard and the star of your team has the ball, but he doesn’t release the ball, till after the horn sounded and it was too late. The game is lost and you as fans leave frustrated and upset. You have an airplane trip coming up. You head to the airport and clear security. But by the time you got to the gate the airplane is taxing away, and it is too late. You are mad at yourself for not getting to the airport sooner. Your child is learning to ride his bicycle. And he says dad, “I can do it by myself, let go of the bike!” Soon after you let go, you see that he is loosing control of his bike. You run as fast as you could, but it is too late, your son has fallen to the ground and broken his arm. You’re disappointed that you listened to your son and let go. You get a call from the hospital. Please get here as fast as you can. You get in the car and head to the hospital. But with travel and traffic you get there only to hear the nurse say, “I am sorry, it is too late. He has passed away.” You are sad and mad because you didn’t get a chance to say goodbye, I love you, or ask for forgiveness for a pain that has separated you. When the horn blows, when the clock ticks, when the light is out, and when the nurse speaks. It is too late.

In the world in which we live, there are events that happen too late. But not when it comes to the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is what the Apostle to the Gentiles—Paul tells us in this text. That it is never too late to share what God has done for us and continues to do for us. As long as there is breath in us, we can by the mighty working of the Holy Spirit tell the Good News to others.

Paul, in the words of Chapter 11 shares with us, his anguish and agony over the lot of his brothers—the Jews who have refused the message of hope and help that God offered them. He is bringing to the forefront that God has not rejected them. Even though they have rejected Him, God still desires today to reach out to all people to know Him whether they be Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and others. It doesn’t make any difference, but what matters that they may know His love and His Son, Jesus Christ who died for all people that they may live with Him in the place He has prepared for them in heaven.

Even the evangelist Peter speaks of the same message. Listen to Peter’s words: “The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Did you hear what Peter said? God is patient towards us so that we might hear the message and repent before it is too late. God wants us all people to come to the knowledge of His grace and see Him as the loving, caring, compassionate Father. God spares nothing looking for us lest we spend eternity in the fires of hell.

How important then it is for us to be in partnership with Paul, Peter, and Jesus in sharing the timeless message of the Good News. How valuable for us to be concerned about others before it is too late. How essential it is for us to be doing the Father’s work in seeking, and searching for the lost, the erring, the blind and the simple. We dare not waste the time any more, but take to heart that our days count for something.

Don’t take lightly the joys and privileges the Lord gives you in speaking with the family of faith about their lives and actions. Don’t take lightly the blessings you can be to reach out in the name of the Living and Loving Christ to others. You are the ONE whom God has called to be an instrument in sharing the most important message the world needs to hear.

The mission of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has taken some twists and turns. It has faced rejection. But that rejection still can be overcome by the Gospel. It is true of the Jews. It is also true of those we know and love who do not know Jesus.

Paul’s discussion in the Epistle on the fate of his fellow Jews leaves little doubt that the Gentiles, too, are reconciled to God only by His mercy. Are you aware of the needs of those around you? Have you lost your family? Is there a member in your family who has nothing to do with Christ, His Church? PAUSE. Then in love show them that you care and concerned about their well being.

This past week I read a story of a former son of Hamas cleric who became a Christian and denounced the Islamic faith.

MOSAB HASSAN YOUSEF: “My family is educated and it was very difficult for them. They asked me many times, especially for the first two days, to keep my faith to myself and not go to the media and announce it.

But for me it was a duty from God to announce his name and praise him (around) the world because my reward is going to be that he's going to do the same for me. So I did it, basically, as a duty. I (wonder) how many people can do what I can do today? I didn't find any.

So, I had to be strong about that. That was very challenging. That was the most difficult decision in my life and I didn't do it for fun. I didn't do it for anything from this world. I did it only for one reason: I believed in it. People are suffering every day because of wrong ideas. I can help them get out of this endless circle ... the track the devil (laid) for them.”

You and I may not agree that this man had to do something for God. That is not true. But what is true is that the Lord does everything for us to save us. Look intently at the cross and see His love. Look intensely at His Son sacrificing His life for you and see His compassion. Look profoundly at the empty tomb and see the victory He has won for you.

Brothers and sisters in Christ know for certain, that it is never too late to bring an end to all the evil in this world. It is never too late to end the massacre of Abortion. It is never too late to bring a halt to murder. It is never too late to stop all rape. It is never too late to win a Silver meddle in the Olympics at age 41 as Dara Torres did last night. It is never too late to tell the world of our Savior. Time is of the essence. Now is the day of salvation and we should be about our loving Savior’s business.

As a family of believers we have at times got together for a picnic at the park. While there we begin to play different games. When choosing sides, many of the young people wonder who will pick them since they are little or less gifted.

However, in God’s economy God doesn’t work that way. He doesn’t look at us and pick us because we are good at something. For we are all disabled by sin that there is no good in us. We’re all deserving of hell that God wouldn’t even waste a first glance at us.

But look closer at the words of Paul. God doesn’t work that way. He is patient with us. He is gracious towards us. He is merciful to us. He is loving toward us. Instead of sending us to be on Satan’s losing team in hell, He sent His only begotten Son from heaven to take care of our sins. He has provided the uniform that we will wear—the garment of salvation. It’s His Son’s payment for every sinner that makes it all possible.

God wants every single sinner on His team. He sent His Son to pay for every single sinner. He gives life to every single sinner as the time to learn of the Savior and readied for Eternity. Those who reject Jesus do so at their own peril. Those who are clothed with Him rejoice in God’s grace.

Follower of the Savior, we need to remember that Christianity is not a spectator sport; following the Savior calls for courage and commitment. The Lord has entrusted us with the salvation story. We are people of Christ with the one and only hope that can forgive sins and save souls. As Christians, we need to know it is a great joy and privilege for us to share the love of Jesus with others before it is tool late.

On this day and every day may we be faithful in caring and sharing the sweet message of our salvation with others before it is too late. Amen.

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