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Sunday, February 8, 2015

02082015 Sexagesima Sunday

Sermon Audio

February 8, 2015
God’s Seed will not return without a harvest!
Gracious Heavenly Father, as we inch towards Lent and Spring, may our hearts become like the ground in the spring, pliable and ready for the planting of the seed of the Word of God that leads us to the Cross of Calvary.  And may the harvest be of more people in Your Kingdom through Your Word that came and died in order that we might live.  We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord and King.  AMEN.
            There was once a man who was well known in the community.  It wasn’t what he did in the community that brought him notoriety, but what he said.  Unlike most his words were not like society or what we hear on television, read in the newspaper or even read on Facebook.  The words he said were well placed, direct and to the point.  His Words were at times soft, but carried great meaning.  At other times His words were sharper than a double edged sword so when He spoke it was a truth that cut through most people’s façade.  His words revealed every persons heart desires, but also spoke a comfort for them that even healed their wounds they had carried for years.
            The person I am speaking about is none other than Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ clearly can speak words into each of us and our lives that can cut through our man made façade.  Yet, when Jesus spoke in His day and time the words He spoke revealed the pettiness of the scribes and Pharisee’s of His day.  He was not only looked down upon by the synagogue authorities, but they even plotted to kill Him.  Jesus Christ, Word of God incarnate, the Word that became flesh, Who came to set us free from the bondage we have in our lives of sin, death and the devil was a marked man, because of His Words.  With His Words, captured in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, He clearly and unmistakably planted a seed in people’s lives that would grow and break their hardened hearts and make them more pliable.  This even continues today for some of us who gather here in the church.
            In our Old Testament lesson this morning we heard the prophet Isaiah clearly not only prophecy of Jesus Christ, but also talk about of all things planting, but the application for Jesus is clear and unmistakable.  Jesus Christ is the seed that we Christians who gather here today plant.  Jesus Christ is the seed of the Gospel of our salvation.  It is Jesus Christ sacrifice that we plant in our daily lives.  Just as Jesus Christ walked among the people 2000 years ago and healed their bodies of the maladies, cast out the demons that tormented them and healed their hearts of the hurt that they had carried for countless years, Jesus Christ offers each and every one of us gathered here this morning this same opportunity of help, healing and wholeness found in the Gospel of the Cross of Jesus Christ.
            When we plant the seed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, God will water it and make it grow.  Just as farmers plant the seed of wheat, corn or milo, and insure the ground has the right moisture, the right nutrients and the right conditions, God is the one that makes the seed grow of the plant, but also the seed of the Gospel.  In the Word of God, God is the active agent not only in the planting of the seeds we use for our daily bread that puts money in our bank accounts, food on our table and jobs for us to go to.  God is the active agent that planted the seed of the Gospel in each of our lives.  God is the one Who planted the seed at our baptism, watered it with the Word of God from the scriptures we read weekly, the waters of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion that we celebrate, and God even makes it grow and be ready for the harvest when we go to be with Him in His Kingdom.
            Today we heard about what Feed My Starving Children as an organization has done for the world.  But more than just the organization, these ladies from our community and church who have come and presented have stood up and been willing to plant the seed of hope for people across the world they have never even met.  This is exactly what God is calling each and every one of us to do today.  God is calling us to plant the seed of His Gospel from this day onward.  My question for us today is, “Are you ready to plant?”
            This question is not about whether you have taken your tractor and planter into John Deere, Case or New Holland and had it serviced.  Nor if you have done the work yourselves or gone and bought the latest planter direct from the factory.  It is more a matter of in your life today ‘are you ready to plant?’  When you walk out your door in the morning, are you ready to live a life that plants the seed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in another’s life?  When you talk with members of the congregation or community will what you say, not have an agenda?  Will what you say, would you be willing to say, in front of Jesus Christ?  Or will you pull people into private and plant seeds of destruction that are not of the Gospel of Salvation or for His glory?
            We as children of the light, baptized into Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection are called to plant the seed of the Gospel.  We are called to plant the seed that points to Jesus Christ and His gift for each of us on the Cross of Calvary.  God is calling us to clearly and unmistakably “Lift High the Cross” of Jesus Christ and plant the seed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ wherever we go.
            When I was a child, I was an acolyte from Confirmation until I graduated college.  I not only lit the candles, but our church also had a processional cross similar to the one we have here by the altar.  Every Sunday, the Cross would lead the procession both into and out of the church.  So important was the Cross that even for funerals, we would have acolytes.  And the Cross would process into and out of the church and even to the grave site when loved ones were buried.  But what distinguished the use of the cross every time it was used was the opportunity the congregation and the church had to see the Cross of Jesus Christ lifted high at every worship service.

            Today we conclude our worship singing this very song, “Lift High the Cross”.  For we who gather here today can lift high the Cross of Jesus Christ.  We can answer the question, “Are you ready to plant?” not with the Spring time answer that has a crop that is harvested in the Fall, but more importantly and eternally the crop of saints that will be gathered in God’s Kingdom on the last day.  So let us remember as we “Lift High the Cross”, we can remember it is for all of mankind, including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel who sing the refrain, “Lift High the Cross, the love of Christ proclaim, for all the world, proclaim His Holy Name.”  AMEN.

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