S-1379-15SAP/C 9/01/2013 Hymns: (O) #508; (S) #400; #; (C) #36
Texts: Proverbs 25:2-10; Hebrews 13:1-17; Luke 14:1-14
Theme: “Be Careful in How You live!” (Proverbs 25:7b-10)
Question: “Have you ever seen the Bible play out in the lives of other people and wish that you could be the same way too?” Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text is from the O. T. lesson: “What your eyes have seen do not hastily bring into court, for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor puts you to shame? Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not reveal another's secret, lest he who hears you bring shame upon you, and your ill repute have no end.” (Proverbs 25:7b-10)
INTRODUCTION: In Nomine Iesu.
Beloved in the Savior’s name, Jesus our ONLY Lord and God, one of the greatest blessings we have as Christians is a Bible that shows our Awesome, Amazing and Almighty God. This amazing God moved men by the Holy Spirit to write a Book that teaches us the truth that leads to eternal Life. In that Book of books, we read about what Jesus has done—coming to earth, living the perfect life in our place and eventually taking our sins and nailing them to the cross.
From the opening words of Genesis to the final words of Revelation, we see God’s love oozing out, telling us His plan of salvation. Every book, every prophet, and every message points us to the Lamb; whose perfect life was slain on the altar of the cross for our sins. And by this marvelous act of sacrifice, we receive blessings and grace in abundance from this gracious God.
Yet, many saints, even some of us here are ignorant of that Book and the golden gem of salvation that is for you and me. Oh yes, we know the name of Jesus, we know some things about Him, but we really don’t know Him as the heaven-sent Savior who would do anything to save you from the punishment of hell and the wrath of God.
It is for this reason, that the Holy Spirit gathers us here week in and week out, so that you may apprehend, taste, touch, smell, hear and see what the Lord has accomplished and continues to work in your life in the cross, empty tomb, font and chalice FOR YOU! Because He is the great God that He is, He calls us to live a different life than the world. He wants us to be careful in how we live for Him. PAUSE.
Solomon, the author of the text before us, exhorts us to hear and head the words and to live our lives in such a manner that we make a difference in the lives of others—all the while glorifying God.
Solomon put it this way: “What your eyes have seen do not hastily bring into court, for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor puts you to shame? Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not reveal another's secret, lest he who hears you bring shame upon you, and your ill repute have no end.” In another word, don’t be hasty in condemning or judging another person. Instead let our lives declare that we have been purchased by the shed blood of Jesus.
Saints in Christ, did you know that our lives are a book that is being read daily? We are not a book on a library shelf collecting dust, but daily being looked at. The lens that people see us through tells them what kind of people we are or they think we are.
How unfortunate though, when we, as Christ’s disciples, don’t pay careful heed to how we live. At times we live like the rest of the world and our lives are not a gospel light. At times we let the devil control what we do instead of what Christ desires for us to do. Whether we like it or not, people come up with all sorts of judgment on our lives by what we do. PAUSE.
Perhaps, you were like me, appalled at the lewd behavior of Miley Cyrus during a recent award. Rather than using her God-given gifts as a good role model, she has now become an embarrassment to herself and her family. How sad, that this young lady, exchanged the God-given gifts and skills and traded them for vulgarity or lewdness. What is even worse, many people don’t see anything wrong with that type of behavior.
You and I may not parade like Miley Cyrus in such lewd behavior, but we have enough sins that separate us from our Holy God. And yet, we play games thinking that we can hide our sins from God. In the presence of God, who knows ALL, we are kidding ourselves if we think our sins aren’t equally embarrassing to Him and ourselves.
But in this house of worship, there is no reason to pretend or play games. Christ invites you to come just as you are, but is not content to leave you that way as you confess your sins and receive His absolution. Here in this place Christ’s perfect life covers our imperfect life. He takes that which is unholy and makes it holy.
In this house of worship see how Jesus lives and calls us to follow His pattern. You see Jesus always lived His life in such a way that He didn’t have to pretend. What people saw in the Rabbi from Nazareth, is what they got, a Man who humbled Himself to exalt others. Christ suffered, died, and rose from the grave, to forgive our sins and grant us the perfect life.
This is what the Savior desires of you—to live your life in such a way that you are truly a message to others: A message of hope and joy, a book written with your life that points others to the Lamb without spot or sin—Jesus the Christ. PAUSE.
Holy people of God, a story is told of a preacher who came to a new town. On his first visit to the grocery store, he purchased few items and paid the cashier for the groceries. The man behind the counter introduced himself as the owner of the store and welcomed him to the town. After visiting for few moments, the owner gave him the change.
The minister headed towards his car. He looked at the change in his hands and realized that the owner had given him an extra quarter. As he contemplated what he should do about it, he began to reason: It is no big deal, it is only a quarter, and it will not make any difference. Should I take it back or not? He kept vacillating back and forth, should I or shouldn’t I? Finally, he went back into the store and said to the owner. “Sir, you gave me an extra quarter by mistake. Here is your money.” With that the owner said to the minister, “Pastor, I didn’t make a mistake, I gave you the extra quarter because I wanted to know what kind of man you are!”
The pastor headed back to the car. As he sat in the car, with shame and sorrow in his heart, he lifted his face heaven-ward and said, “Lord, Jesus Christ, please forgive me, I almost sold You for a quarter!”
Faithful followers of Jesus, in the name of Him who called you to faith in the waters of Holy Baptism, remember who and whose you are! You are His blood-bought children! Be careful how you live! What others see in you may well be the only Bible they ever read! Amen.
Now the peace…
SOLI DEO GLORIA