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Sunday, August 3, 2014

08032014 Seventh Sunday After Trinity

Sermon Audio

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

If I were to ask about the one thing Christians don’t like talking about, what would it be?  Would it be relationships?  Would it be politics?  Would it be money or the lack there of?

Our reality is that we Christians don’t like talking about sin.  Sin is something that each of us thinks about on a daily basis, feel compelled to confess every Sunday and don’t need a reminder of by anyone, especially me the Pastor.

Paul, prolific writer of the New Testament on the other hand had no problem speaking of sin.  Just as some of us wear glasses because we need the corrective nature of a lens to see the world around us and do not share our glasses or contacts with others, even our family and close personal friends.  We who gather here today keep our glasses or contacts close to us so we can see the world around us in clarity.  We even do the same with our sin, we keep it close, because our sins are private and very personal for each of us.  Yet, Paul in stark opposite saw sin as we see glasses or contacts, something he looked through to see something greater and more powerful.  Paul talks about sin in every book and letter he wrote and looks through the lens of sin, not with condemnation for the people he is writing to, nor to us who gather here today, but with the greater vision in mind of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

In our lesson this morning Paul states, “I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh.”  We are weak.  Granted living here on the high desert plain, we have to be strong and independent, but Paul is speaking of our fleshly human nature.  This is the part we do not like speaking about, the part that is close and personal to each of us like our glasses or contacts.  But like how we see things and what we look through, like our glasses, it is not what is close that we need to see.  We like Paul, need to see through our sin and our self to our Savior Jesus Christ.

Paul continues, “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.”  We are free in Christ to be the children of God.  Just as the Sudanese woman who was threatened with death by her Muslim family for marrying a Christian.  She was ultimately freed from captivity and the threat of death and met with Pope Francis.  We too who gather here today are free as well in Christ.  We are set free as the Children of God and the Children of light in our righteousness won for all of us by Jesus Christ death on Calvary.  We are no longer bound by sin, but set free to be the people of God and focus with clarity and perfect vision on God, keeping Him in our sights and on our minds.

Every week we begin our service with Confession and Forgiveness.  This is where we let go of that which binds us, weighs us down and holds us back.  Symbolically when I kneel at the footsteps of the Chancel, I along with you the people of God am seeking God’s forgiveness in our corporate confession.  God hears our confession and then reminds us through the Forgiveness of Sins that we are set free.

As Paul continues, “But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.”  We no longer are bound by sin, but bound to God’s gifts of grace and the benefits freely given.  We find our sanctification in Jesus Christ, Who offers Himself for us from the Cross of Calvary.  But what is sanctification?  Yes, it is one of those big theological words, but simply it is ‘our being made holy’.  And this is exactly what God does for and to each and every one of us every time we confess our sin.  God makes us holy through His sacrifice for us.

We are like the penny found on the street that is grimy and grungy.  No one wants it.  Nor does anyone want to pick it up or be near it at all.  Because it would take work to make it look pretty and used to pay for something at the store or a fast food place.  But God, unlike man, see’s through the grime, which is like our sins and weekly picks us up in our confession and shines us up in the forgiveness of sins.  God makes us new because of His sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary.  And what does God do, but send us out for circulation again.  We are continuously coming and being made new as the people of God and renewed by God for and by the “free gift of God…eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”.  This is what we receive with our coming every week and being shined up and made new.

This past week, I saw a great example of this here at Emmanuel.  Three ladies came and did for the Altar ware what God does for each of us weekly.  They scrubbed the grime that had built up on the brass, shined the pieces and renewed the luster and shine of the altar ware we use in God’s house here for worship every week.  So to this morning we gather, not only seeing their elbow grease, but by our confession we can feel how God has shined up each of us to be returned to His service in the Kingdom of God.  God has picked us up and made us new in our confession and His forgiveness of us.  We can now, as the people of God shined up and made new by God’s work of sanctification, making us holy, can now go out and circulate and be God’s witness of the “free gift of God…[of] eternal life” offered for all of mankind, but especially all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.

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