Searching for....

Monday, September 12, 2016

09112016 16th Sunday After Trinity - Apostles Creed "And In Jesus Christ, His Only Son, Our Lord"

September 11, 2016
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
Greg Laurie, famous from “Harvest America” and even can be heard on KGCR our local Christian Radio Station speaks candidly about the first Sunday after the September 11th World Trade Center tragedy.  He says, ‘many media outlets contacted him to ask his opinion about faith and life and what impact these events would have upon the church.’  Ironically, September 16, 2001 was the largest crowd of worshipers at his church, because people were ‘searching’ for meaning in light of the 24 hour coverage and the continued hope of rescuing people still alive in the rubble of the destruction of the two towers.
Across the country, prayer services were held.  Petitions and prayers were spoken and prayed internally and externally for a change of our culture, society and our very being.  Across the ocean countries mourned with us not only at the loss of life, but the heart felt need to have a change that would have a lasting impact.  The solidarity shown revealed the clear and unmistakable belief that we were all connected across the globe.  The feeling for some of the personal loss, whether in fact, but even in our own safety and psyche whether in Japan, South Africa, Ireland, Mexico or even right here in Goodland was not only clear and tangible, but called for a change that was felt by everyone who heard the news.
Fast forward 15 years to today.  We gather today here at Emmanuel with not only numerous attacks upon countries, people groups, but specifically upon even those who insure our safety, the ‘blue line’.  We live in a time where fear continues to trump our faith, because no place seems safe.  The men and women in blue hired to protect us are now targets even in our own country as they patrol our streets.  Our elementary schools are being used as a bully pulpit to put fear into our children, sometimes by teachers but more so today by fellow students, all because one candidate is not the person our parents, family or friends would vote for in the upcoming election.  We use fear to push people to make decisions.  Our society pushes us to choose.  Yet our society looks with earthly eyes.  We who are Christians should not look with earthly eyes, simply because something more sinister is our current reality.  For we who gather here today at Emmanuel sometimes do not clearly understand or believe that eternity is in the balance.
But eternity is in the balance, whether we will spend eternity in hell and its torment, or will we spend an eternity with our Lord.  We have a decision today, will we choose earthly things, or will we chose eternal things?  I ask this question, not to cause us to act out of fear, but to inspire us to act in faith.
Today, I stand not only here in the pulpit, but at the tip of the spear against our society and world.  Today, I stand here because, we have a God, the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit that we invoke not only at the beginning of our service, but that we confess with the words found in the Apostle’s Creed.  Today I lay claim to the love of Jesus Christ and the clear offer of grace that is offered to us freely and without our own merit.  This gift of grace is offered to all of mankind from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  For God not only bathes us with His grace through the Blood of the Lamb of God that takes the sin of the world, but offers this gift of grace and forgiveness out of His great love for each and every one of us.  Our world does not deserve it.  Our world cannot merit what God offers us from the Cross of Calvary.  But out of God’s grace, mercy and love, God, through His Son and our Savior Jesus Christ freely offers us Himself in order that we might have eternal life.
You see, Satan wants us to live in fear, not in faith.  Satan wants us to doubt God and not believe that Jesus Christ existed, hence why our society only sees Holy Scripture as ‘literature’.  Our society sees the stories captured, recorded and told in the Bible only as anecdotes not true fact.  Our society doesn’t want Holy Scripture in the schools, nor in our public places, because it could cause offense.  So our society has relegated Holy Scripture to the library instead of the dinner table for conversation.  Our society has relegated Jesus Christ as a name we cannot say or wear without repercussions.  Our society has relegated, our confession that we not only hold up, but boldly confess today in fear of a truth that we are accountable for where we will spend eternity.  Today we stand at a precipice with eternity in the balance.
When we confess the Apostle’s Creed specifically the second article “And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord”, we not only bind ourselves to Jesus Christ, but are empowered to boldly confess Who and Whose we are.  Our confession of faith, not only solidifies when we begin by confessing our belief that God created the heavens and the earth, but we unmistakably and unashamedly bind ourselves to a belief in the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ as God’s only Son, and our Lord.  We not only lift up the banner of Jesus name, but we clearly hear Jesus calling each of us by name.  For Jesus is not only calling us by name, Jesus as our sermon hymn says, wants us to “Come home”.
This is why the battle that wages on a daily basis of eternity being in the balance is so clear.  No more compelling representation of this comes than from the second installment of the “God’s Not Dead” series of movies.  The teacher Grace Wesley played by Melissa Joan Hart doesn’t just encounter, but stands at the precipice of the choices between man or God.  As Grace faces the clear opposition of her school, a lawyer hell bent to destroy her and anyone’s belief in God, and even her ‘friends’ in the administration at school.  Grace’s response to her own defense lawyer not only is poignant, but powerful.  Grace says, “I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God.”
We who not only gather this morning, but even our family, friends, fellow Goodland residents and especially the entire world stand at this same choice and precipice today.  Eternity is in the balance for each of us on a daily basis.  We daily are faced with the question of, where do you want to spend eternity, Heaven or Hell?  If we have learned nothing else from the tragedy of September 11, 2001, we know not the day nor the hour when we will enter into eternity.  Will we live in fear or faith?  If we refuse to daily confess Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, then our destination is clear.  However, if we boldly, unashamedly and clearly do what Jesus calls us to do in making disciples of all nations and are willing to with our last breath in the face of certain death confess the words, “And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord”, God will not only welcome us into His Kingdom, but will clearly welcome us into His loving embrace. 

It is my prayer for each and every one of us today that we take up the Cross of Jesus Christ and boldly battle the forces of evil that battle us daily.  For Jesus Christ call on each of our lives is not for earthly gain, but for an eternal gain that cannot be taken away.  May we daily not only call on the name of Jesus, but boldly believe and confess the Apostle’s Creed when we declare “And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.”  AMEN.

Check out Pastor on the Prairie (ProtP)
Subscribe to ProtP

//trial script