S-1393 LSOCY/C 11/24/2013 Hymns: (O) #2; (S) #356; L.S. #311; #308(C) #354
Texts: Malachi 3:13-18; Colossians 1:13-20; Luke 23:27-43
Theme: “Costly Peace” (Colossians 1:19-20)
Question: “How much do you value peace?” Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation is from the Epistle lesson: “For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:19-20).
INTRODUCTION: In Nomine Iesu.
Saints in Christ, in an article written by Bob Greene titled: “The Cost of Peace” he states: “We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.
Through history, peace in the world has often, of necessity, been attained by the most brutal means available during military conflict. There is a dichotomy intrinsic to wars waged in pursuit of peace—an uneasy divide between lightness and shadows. Tranquility born of bloodshed; happiness the end result of horror. We don’t like to think too much about that, and no wonder. The truth behind it goes against our better nature.
What is the most beloved image celebrating the joyous end of World War II? It’s the Alfred Eisenstaedt photo of the sailor and the nurse embracing in Times Square. Even now, more than 60 years later, that photo makes people weep with glad emotion, makes them grin with across-the-generations exultation. That photo, it is often declared, says it all.
But there would be no photo of the sailor and the nurse were it not for scenes no one likes to see in photographs: the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that brought the awful years of war to a close. It is perfectly explicable that we much prefer bathing ourselves in exuberant images of the first hours of peace, rather than the gruesome images of the last hours of war. http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/26/opinion/greene-peace/index.html
This is so true. We love living in the USA because it provides us peace of mind and peace of heart. We cherish our military personnel especially as they are decked with their military uniforms, but we don’t like the images of maimed, in a wheel chair or in a casket. Likewise, we love the image of the Peace-Maker, Jesus Christ as the Good and Faithful Shepherd who carries the lamb on His shoulder, but we don’t like the gruesome image of the beaten, bruised and bleeding Savior on the cross. We like Him as the One who brings comfort and joy and peace, but we don’t like to hear of judgment, punishment and condemnation. We like Jesus talking about heaven and eternal life and forgiveness. But when we hear of the wages of sin, hell and God’s wrath, it is totally another story. PAUSE.
According to a 2009 Harris Poll many people around the country and the world do not believe in hell or that it even exist. Why not? Because they say, “God is love”. That is absolutely true. God’s very nature is love. Love flows from God to us; and Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the gruesome tree of the cross is the ULTIMATE evidence of that love.
The message of the Bible is that God is also fair and just and if people disobey Him there is punishment and condemnation. Paul said it this way: “The wages of sin is death” and he went on to say, “but the GIFT God is eternal life”.
God’s gift to humanity was the sending of His only begotten Son—Jesus Christ. Christ’s Gift to humanity was His suffering, death and resurrection from the grave. By that gift we have received the gift of peace. That is costly indeed. It cost Jesus His own precious blood shed to cover all of our sins and clothes us in His white robes of righteousness.
As believers and followers of His teaching we know what it cost our Savior to win our peace. His life was spent in the selfless sacrifice pouring out His blood-every drop of it for you and for me. For this reason, today and every day we stand beneath the cross of Christ covered with His blood and bask in the forgiveness which He earned for US on Calvary’s cross! PAUSE.
Beloved in the Lord, there is an African Proverb that says: Peace is costly but it is worth the expense. How true that is in relation to our salvation and eternal life. The Apostle Peter spoke of the cost of our peace with these words: “…knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19). The price of this peace wasn’t paid in gold, silver or US currency, NO, it was the precious, spotless, holy, innocent blood of the Lamb—Jesus.
Because of this cost, the Blood-shedding Christ gives us peace with God and with our neighbors. Therefore, as a child of God through faith in Jesus, His Son, you enjoy a peaceful relationship with God right now. Through faith in Jesus you enjoy all the blessings of peace, life, and forgiveness that Jesus won with His holy life and sacrificial death.
Know this truth beloved saints, God redeemed us (that is He bought us back). He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. This is how we get the costly peace.
On this Last Sunday of the Church Year-the Sunday of the Fulfillment may we always remember that peace is costly—it carries a price tag that we could never imagine or hope to pay on our own. It is costly because it cost our Savior Jesus His life. Christ gave us this peace by living the holy life we are unable to live, suffering and dying the penalty for the sins we daily commit, and rising from the dead in the victory over sin, satan and death itself all for our forgiveness, salvation and eternal life.
Because of this great act of mercy and compassion we have peace with God for today and always. God embraces all who know He forgives through Jesus’ blood hurled on them after being thrown onto the cross. This demonstrates the COSTLY PEACE, and the glorious case of the depth of God’s underserved grace that makes God’s love unconditional and unbeatable.
This peace is yours today, not because of anything that you have done, but on account of the Peace-Maker, and the Mediator, and the Redeemer of mankind—the heaven-sent Savior, the Son of God. Oh, that you and I would bask in this peace and praise Him daily for all He has done and continues to do for us.
To be sure, it is for more than just us! Our Lord who has paid such a high price for our peace sends us out to be peace-makers in His world. We do this by introducing people of every tongue, language, tribe and nation to Jesus! We do this as instruments of the Holy Spirit that is calling, gathering and enlightening the entire Church on earth. In this we lead others to see the gruesome images of the cross as the sign of eternal peace! And this peace can never be taken from them or us!
To that end, we celebrate on this Last Sunday of the Church Year—the Sunday of Fulfillment and say all praise be to God the Father, and the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Now the peace…
SOLI DEO GLORIA