Sunday, July 28, 2013

“Paid in Full!” (Colossians 2:13-15)

S-1374-10SAP/C 7/28/2013 Hymns: (O) #3; (S) #32; LS 199; #315; (C) #46

Texts: Genesis 18:20-33; Colossians 2:6-15; Luke 11:1-13

Theme: “Paid in Full!” (Colossians 2:13-15)

Question: “How much debt do you have?” Armour, SD

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text is from the Epistle lesson: And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him (Colossians 2:13-15).


Precious children of the heavenly Father, it is not often that we hear good news. God knows we want to. Most often the news on the local, state, nation and the world is depressing. Overall, the news is neither good or makes us feel joyful.

And so also is the news about the state of affairs in the US—the economy and debt. Did you know beloved that the USA has the highest debt per/capita in the world? Here are the debt profiles according to the Federal Reserve statistics:

Average credit card debt: $15,325,

Average mortgage debt: $147,924,

Average student loan debt: $32,041

70% of American households are in debt.

And our Synod’s debt is $17 Million

It is so difficult to function when you are in debt. You are always trying to live from pay-check to pay-check, not sure how you will make ends meet. It is like a ball in chains tied to your foot, you can hardly move.

Many people live with enormous debts that choke their lives and cause them to always be depressed. Whether you are a farmer, home owner, a student or a minister of the Gospel you are not immune from debt. Many of our seminarians come out with heavy debt load. On the average each seminarian owes $70 - $80k in student loans. PAUSE.

Last year one of our seminarians was called to be a pastor in the BELOVED SD District. He had close to $50.000 in student loans. One of his saints found that out and paid the debt in full. This minister was thankful and joyful. He is now debt free because someone cared enough and was generous to pay the full debt. With that freedom, this new pastor is NOW busy with the work of the kingdom with joy and fervor.

Today, that joy is magnified a trillion times, and our freedom increased as the Apostle Paul tells us that our Lord Jesus Christ on a far grander scale has paid the debt of our sin in full and cancelled the record of sin against us that we owe to God.

You may not have any debts and you are comfortable financially. But you have a huge debt that you owe God—it is the debt of sin. Sin is like a ball in chains that drags us down. We sin daily against the Ten Commandments and every other command that God has given us. And because of sin, there is payment that needs to be made to the Eternal Judge—God.

Every one of us Pastor and people are guilty of sinning against God and His holy Word. Every one of us Pastor and people are responsible of not doing the will of God. Every one of us pastor and people, are not doing our share to meet our church’s budget; as of today we are about $6k below meeting our responsibilities to get the Gospel out. Indeed by willful arrogance and pride we carry the heavy load of sin around our hearts, and like Paul and others before us we cry out, “O wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom. 8:24). PAUSE.

The sad reality of it is that someday we must face the debt collector Himself. You and I will stand in the presence of our Holy God, and hear Him say to us, “Pay up what you owe me for your life of sin!”

God’s commandments are like that collection agency. They tell me that I owe God for what I have or haven’t done. The plain word for this debt is SIN. How can I get a holy God, to whom I owe so much, off my back? I can’t! When I try to scratch together the works in my life as payment for my sins, God labels them for what they really are—counterfeit, trash and worthless. When I try to tear up the demanding letters from His commandments, they only keep coming stronger and stronger. “Pay up or else,” they demand. And I’m afraid that for me, the sinner, the “or else” means hell. But how can I pay my debt of sin to a Holy God?

Some Bible teaching pastors tell you, you have to do something to earn God’s father. The Catholic Pope would have you believe you can do so with indulgences. Just recently through the social media of Tweets, Pope Francis offered indulgences to reduce the time Catholics believe they will have to spend in purgatory after they have confessed and been absolved of their sins.

The truth of the matter is we can’t pay it back. Neither can we do so with our labor of love for the sake of the Kingdom, nor by buying indulgences, or any other means. There is only One who could and would. Christ the heaven-sent Savior. Indeed, He was willing to pay our full debt, through His suffering, death and glorious resurrection.

That is the good news that Paul shares with you today beloved. Listen to Paul as he shares the most glorious news. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross.” Christ paid the debt we owe in full. He did it as He ascended to Calvary’s Hill, as He ascended the cross, as He ascended out of the tomb, as He ascended to the right side of God—has PAID IT IN FULL. Is there any better news to hear? No! NEVER! PAUSE.

Sin’s debt is real. So is the forgiveness God has prepared in Jesus. On Calvary, Jesus took my sins and nailed them to His cross. They hung there with Him. They hung there on Him. Because He was God’s own Son, He could take care of them. With the crimson ink of His precious blood, He wrote across my bill of debt, “PAID IN FULL.”

For the believer, instead of the damming letters from a collection agency comes a love letter from God saying: “I have forgiven you all your sins! My Son has paid for all of your sins! The debt of sin has been cancelled. The debt of sin is no longer held against you. Now you are free to move around with joy and do the work of the Kingdom.” Therefore, as the newly ordained pastor was given the freedom to serve His saints, now you and I are privileged and honored to go out into the world and share the love of Jesus Christ, share His Gospel message and tell them you no longer have any debt, it has been paid in full. Amen.


Now the peace…

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