Monday, April 19, 2010

“I Want This…And This…and This…” (1 Peter 4:1-2).

S-1178 6MIL/3C 3/24/2010 Hymns: (O) #178; #184; (S) #159; (C) #652

Texts: Psalm 69:13-21; 1 Peter 4:1-6; Passion Reading

Theme: “I Want This…And This…and This…” (1 Peter 4:1-2).

Question: “What are you thirsting for?” (6th in Sermon series on “Life Together”)


In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. The text for our Sixth Midweek in Lent is from the Epistle Lesson: “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:1-2).

Introduction: In Nomine IESU

People of God, chosen and beloved, you have seen it many times on TV. The camera zooms in on the people who have camped all night long waiting and waiting. You have read about it in the newspapers describing the mad rush of people trying to be first in line. You have heard about it on the radio, as the announcer speaks of the throngs of people lining up one after the other.

What am I talking about? Black Friday—the biggest shopping day of the year. Black Friday falls after Thanksgiving Day, when multitudes of people young and old, boys and girls pitch their tents in all kind of weather to be first in line as Wal-Mart, Walgreen, Herbergers, J.C. Penny’s and the like open their doors. As soon as the doors are open there is a mad rush into the store similar to the Running of the Bull in Pamplona, Spain. People grab a shopping cart and begin to dump this and this and this item.

What possess people to do this? Why would anyone desire to spend a sleepless night standing in the frigid cold or sleeping on a hard floor to be first in line? By nature the human nature always looks to fulfill its needs. We thirst for this and this and this because we think they will satisfy us. This is how foolish we are and deceived we have become.

Tonight, as we continue on our Lenten journey, we reach Golgotha. Just outside the city walls of Jerusalem, we see the Rabbi from Nazareth nailed to a tree. As we draw near enough to the cross, we can actually hear His deep and laboring breath. As we stop silently near, we also hear Him utter these words: “I Thirst!”

Please ponder this scene with me for a moment. (Invite them to close their eyes) Attempt to see His face. Study the sight before you. Look deep into His eyes and see Him weighted down; His blood dripping one drop after another to the ground crusting beneath Him in the hot Palestinian sand. He looks down and then up and says: “I Thirst!” How can it be that He who made the oceans, placed the seas and rivers in their places, and dug the deep wells of the universe is thirsty. Can it be? He who is the Creator, longs for the created things to satisfy His dry and parched mouth with a drop of water? PAUSE.

I pray that the Holy Spirit will help us tonight to grasp another view of Jesus—His humanity. Dr. Luke with these words displays for us fully the humanity of Jesus. His Divinity is veiled in His humanity. And from the cross He who holds the universe on its axes refuses to quench His thirst by one single drop of water, so that He may take upon Him the sins of the world.

Why? Yes, Why? Let Paul answer that question for you: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:4-8).

Here is the answer to this question. Jesus thought of you first. He put your interest before His. He wanted to save you and you and you. He didn’t come to earth to get this and this and this. But He came because of you, and you and you.

In the text before us this evening Peter calls us to give up thinking of ourselves, and instead think of others. Peter put it this way: “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God”

However, you and I know that from childhood we think of ourselves first and foremost. How often do we ask, “What’s in for me? Or “What do I want to be when I grow up?” Little children ask that question. High school students begin to seek in earnest an answer to that question as they begin to think about colleges and careers. Even working adults ask periodically, “Is this where I want to be?”

Holy Scripture reminds us to aspire to know nothing save Christ and Him crucified. The Word teaches us to aspire to know Christ and the power of His resurrection. It is not enough to know about Jesus. But we want to know Him better; intimately knowing His suffering, His journey to the cross and His glorious resurrection. We want to know what it means to live as a redeemed child of the resurrected Christ. Not only that, but we should desire to share in suffering and dying, just like Jesus.

But we don’t like to suffer. None of us do. Neither you nor I want to go through suffering. But In this sinful and broken world, we are attacked from every corner by the prince of darkness, from the outside and from the Old Adam from within us. Both seek to rob us for our hope, our happiness and our place in heaven. The prince of darkness always attempts to get us of the track of living the life of a child of God. But don’t listen to the devil. Don’t give in to the temptation. Thirst for that which is holy, pure, right and salutary.

This evening I am talking to you, my beloved and His beloved. I am talking to the Christian church, those redeemed by the blood shed by our Savior on the cross, those whom the New Testament calls “the body of Christ.” I am talking to those who know the promise of an end to suffering because Christ died for us. I am talking to you. I’m talking to you who fit the description of 1 Peter 4:1-2: “Since Christ suffered in His body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” I hear Peter calling us to “arm” ourselves with the same thinking of Christ. I hear Peter saying we’re done with sin but I know we still struggle with sin. Yes, we struggle with sin. How many times have you said, “I’m not going to do this again?” But end up doing it anyway. You cry out to God for strength and forgiveness. And Christ draws near to us and says, “My son, my daughter be of good cheer, you have been forgiven.”

I exhort you therefore, for the sake of Christ to think of yourselves as that body of Christ, as sinners but redeemed and washed by the precious blood of the Savior on the cross; who are already armed with the same manner of thinking as Christ. With this in mind, what do we thirst for? We thirst for justice, for healing, for an end to suffering. We thirst for a stronger economy, for those without work to find jobs, to be able to provide for their families. We thirst for safety, for those in Haiti to get the supplies and protection they need. We thirst for the protection of homes in the water-drenched areas of northeastern SD. We thirst for an end to abortion, slavery, and an end to sin, death, and the power of the devil. One look at our weekly prayer list will show you what we thirst for. We thirst for…this and this and this for the benefit of the whole body of believers to be whole, brought back to the fold, to kneel at the altar, received the blessings and peace God offers us in Christ our Savior.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, there is nothing wrong with us Christians thirsting for better things. It is not sinful to thirst to be an accountant, CFO, nurse, teacher, or computer programmer. But the word that belongs before any label or title we ever have is Christian. It is our thirst to follow Christ first.

And the only way we can do so is if we drink from the fountain of the living water—Jesus Christ Himself. Remember, what the Evangelist Luke stated: “From His side water and blood flowed.” What a picture from His pierced side we are quenched because His gift alone satisfies. No wonder Jesus offered us the cup of Salvation—His blood to take away our sins and quench our thirsty souls with the living river flowing from His pierced side.

Beloved in the Lord, when will our parched throats be quenched? Will our suffering never be alleviated now? By no means! God is daily intervening. In countless ways God is indeed giving us little sips of water so we can endure throughout this drought. Help may not always come, but because Christ lives we live in hope. In fact, that is one of the reasons why we are here. We are the body of Christ in this hurting and suffering world. We are often the instruments God uses to alleviate suffering and bring hope in the here and now, as we wait for the day when final healing will come. We are the ones who wipe tears from the eyes of others as we wait for the day when sorrow will end. We bring the sip of water as we wait for the day when the drought will end. As we wait for the day… the day when the source of living water will return and we will thirst no more. Amen.

Now the peace…


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