S-1263 5SAP/3A 07/17/11, (O) #473 vv. 1-3; (S) #473 vv. 4-5; (C) #49
Text: Isaiah 44:6-8; Romans 8:18-27; Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Theme: “This IS our God” (Isaiah 44:6)
Question: “Which God do you worship?”
SOLI DEO GLORIA, Black Hawk, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for the 5th Sunday after Pentecost is the O. T. lesson: “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and His Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I Am the first and I Am the last; besides Me there is no god’” (Isaiah 44:6).
In Nomini Iesu,
In the name of Jesus, amen! It seems today, there are many gods that fill the void of many hearts and heads. gods of our choosing and making. gods of sex and pleasure, power and fame, diet and figure; age and success. gods that satisfy our longing for a moment or two. gods for every occasion and need.
This past week I was watching TV and Dr. Deepack Chopra was talking about his book “The Secret to Reverse Aging”, stated that: “People can empower themselves to slow down aging and even reverse it. That power comes from within to reshape and revise your life.”
This is nothing but another god of our own making. Do you know how many faith groups there are in the world today? Over 4300 faith groups that we know of since 2007. Yet each one believes that their god is the only god. With that statement in mind, how do we know that we worship the one true God?
Isaiah gives us the answer in the text today of what God said about Himself: “I Am the first and I Am the last; besides Me there is no god’” This text is a court room scene. Here the Author of the Universe and Creator of all that exists, challenges the Israelites to compare Him to other gods. He states emphatically there is none-like-Me.
God declares: “I Am not a god who has been made or created in the mind of man or by the hand of man. I am not a figment of someone’s imagination. I Am the God who fills heaven and earth with My majesty and glory.”
In the chapter before our text God speaks these words: “I, even I, Am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed I, and not some foreign god among you. You are My witnesses, declares the Lord, that I Am God” (Is.43:11-12) and in the chapter after our text He states these marvelous truth: “I Am the LORD, and there is no other,
besides Me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know Me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides Me; I Am the LORD, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I Am the LORD, who does all these things.” (Is. 45:5-7). And the Apostle Paul teaches us saying: “There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to one hope when you were called– one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)
Indeed, there may be thousands of gods out in the world being worshiped, but these are not gods. There is only One God that is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is our God whom Isaiah reveals to us today. And what kind of God is He?
Again the text spells this out: “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and His Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I Am the first and I Am the last; besides Me there is no god’”
Our God is:
- The King of Israel and the world: In the weakness of the cross the Church likewise declares that Jesus is “The King of the Jews” (Mt. 27:37). There He is enthroned, bleeding and dying for all humanity. His kinship is truly not of this world. This King loves His subjects, provides for them, cares for them and does everything for them.
- The Redeemer: The Hebrew word “Goel” גאל means to Redeem, or to ransom denotes a next of kin relative who may “avenge the blood” of someone in his family who has been murdered. He will use everything in His power to bring freedom and deliverance from slavery. Our Redeemer has done just that. He redeemed us from the wrath of God, as the Apostle Peter teaches us, not with silver or gold, but with His holy precious blood. The Redeemer of the world has paid the ultimate price for your souls—His life.
- The Lord of Hosts: this statement declares that Jesus is the ultimate Warrior, who defeats every enemy of His church—the enemies satan, sin, and the world. This Warrior fights our battles for us does everything in His power to get us out of the clutches so that He may bless us with every spiritual blessing.
Our God is The King, The Redeemer and The Lord of Hosts who continues to bless us with His presence and His power—the power of His Word. This Word has the power to make dead souls alive, soften hearts that are as hard as stone, change unbelievers into devoted followers and tansform the children of sin and wrath into the holy children of God.
Therefore, by the power of the Holy Spirit, like the warning of Jesus in the parable of the Sower, let nothing make us doubt the Word of God so it is snatched away from us. If we surrender God’s Word, we lose heaven, salvation, and our very soul. Rejection of the Word is also a rejection of God, for it is by the Word alone that He comes to us and we to Him. It is by that same Word that He keeps coming to us. In fact, that is why you are here today; that you might be fed with the Word yet again of a God who comes near to you! This Word brings life, forgiveness and peace! What an Awesome God we have. PAUSE.
This is our God the One who comes to be with us and in us. Certainly, we can’t slow down the aging process or reverse it. Certainly we can’t look inside of us to make ourselves more powerful and stronger. There is no magic bullet to be young and strong again.
It is indeed tragic, that even we Christians fall prey to the devil’s and the world’s teaching in trusting in the gods that we make. We at time put our trust and confidence in the things that we see instead of the God who is not seen by human eyes, but with the eyes of faith. It is tragic when we bow down our knees and our hearts before the gods of the world and pay homage to them.
However, the only true object of religious worship that we Christians adhere to is the true God of the Bible. In Psalm 96:4-6 exhorts us to sing and shout for this God. Listen please: “For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and glory are in His sanctuary”.
Yes, this is our God who fills the heavens with splendor, majesty and glory. This is our God who reveals Himself in the simple things in life—water, wafer, wine, word, cross and empty tomb.
Indeed there are many gods in the world that people run to, cling to, and bow to. But what God would be willing to give up His all for His subject? What God would be willing to fight on behalf of His servants? What God would be willing to pay the ransom for scum bags, sinners who live in the dust of the earth? What God would be willing to love the unlovable? What God would be willing to seek the lost, the least and the little ones? What God would be willing to reach out to others and help them? Only ONE—The True God—Jesus the Christ.
This IS our God: He is not aloof, or distant or disengaged. But He comes down and becomes one of us. This IS our God: The One who keeps all of His promises—by providing for both our bodies and souls—the highest good. This IS our God: whose love fills the whole world and your hearts.
Today, as we gather on this hot day in the Lord’s house, we are reminded again of who this God is. He is our King, He is our Redeemer and He is the Lord of Hosts. What a blessing for us to know that we have a God who loves us, cares for us and provides for us all that we need—the greatest of which the forgiveness of sins so that we might be His redeemed children forever.
Today, we join all Christendom in giving thanks to our God. After all, THIS IS OUR GOD—JESUS THE CHRIST. AMEN.
Now the peace…
SOLI DEO GLORIA.