Monday, March 4, 2013

Sermon March 2-3, 2013

Title: Christ is faithful and will provide you a way!

Text: 1 Cor. 10:12-13

12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

On January 30, 1925, Floyd Collins was exploring Sand Cave on his family’s property to see if it might have tourist potential. Suddenly, his lantern failed. Crawling through the darkness, Collin's foot hit a seven-ton boulder. It fell on his leg, trapping him in the coffin-like narrowness of a dark, subterranean straitjacket. For days Collins was trapped 125 feet below ground in an ice-cold space 8 inches high and 12 feet long. In the meantime, his plight became a national sensation. As the rescue attempt wore on, some 50,000 tourists bought hot dogs, balloons, and soft drinks from vendors at the cave in Kentucky. But in the end, Floyd Collins died alone in the icy darkness. The rescuers dug a shaft and lateral tunnel to reach Floyd. On February 17th, they found his lifeless body.

Today in the Word, Sept 20, 1990.

Though we are dead in sin and give at times give in to temptation, we are also made alive in Christ and:

Christ is faithful and will provide you a way! 

In the epistle to the Corinthians, Paul speaks of the reality of God’s work in the lives of the Israelites in the desert. Connecting the past working of God in the book of Exodus to those in the Corinthian New Testament church, Paul points to the reality that God was present and went before them in the pillar of cloud by day and also allowed them to pass through the Red Sea on dry ground.

God’s seal and pledge of his promises and care were evident to the Israelites and through the cloud and sea God saved his people from the evil bondage experienced under Pharaoh leading them to freedom.

Paul talks about those ancient Biblical texts and those being baptized into Moses through the cloud and sea which are types of our sacrament of Baptism; where God, through His means, washes us clean from the filth of sin, rescuing us from sin, death and the Devil and making us his children.
God, just as he delivered them, delivers us today and transfers us from the power of Satan into His glorious kingdom, free and marked as redeemed by Christ the crucified. Today we saw, in the baptism of Brianna, the blessed freedom still at work by our loving God in the lives of his children as he washes away sin and covers His children with his righteousness.

But, Paul continues:

12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 
Now, some of the Israelites, who had been with Moses in the desert, Paul says that God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness:

… for in the desert they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

These were examples Paul says, for the Corinthians and for us. Be on you guard because temptation will come upon you and Satan will find a subtle way to draw you back to his realm.

8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 

The call here is to honor what God has given for our own good in the 6th commandment:

Thou shall not commit adultery or as Luther says in the catechism:

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.

Paul continues:

9 We must not put Chris to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 

Maybe you remember the story of the fiery serpents that came into the camp and their bite caused death. God provided a way out and instructed Moses to make a bronze serpent and place it on a pole and lift it in the center of the camp for all to see … and all who looked upon the serpent on the pole would be healed and live. But, some didn’t believe and continued to look away …

10 or grumbled, and some of them were destroyed by the Destroyer.
But when temptation strikes like a fiery serpent we can trust that:

Christ is faithful and will provide you a way!

We too, give in even to temptation even after a seeing beautiful gift like the one we just saw given to little Brianna. She will fall, as we all do, she will sin, she will be tempted to fall away just as we all are. But, God has sent His Holy Spirit to be with us and in us and point us to Christ Jesus and his finished word for Brianna, you and me.

So how do we stay protected?


Charles Francis Adams, 19th century political figure and diplomat, kept a diary. One day he entered: "Went fishing with my son today--a day wasted." His son, Brook Adams, also kept a diary, which is still in existence. On that same day, Brook Adams made this entry: "Went fishing with my father--the most wonderful day of my life!" The father thought he was wasting his time while fishing with his son, but his son saw it as an investment of time. The only way to tell the difference between wasting and investing is your perspective.

Silas Shotwell, in Homemade, Sept, 1987.

Satan wants you to believe that spending time in worship, praising God through the good times and the bad and fighting against the temptation of the world, which is to say, the temptation that points you away from Christ and His work and love for you is, as Charles Francis Adams said – a day wasted.

God, on the other hand, will use this time to equip you, to sustain you, to keep you grounded when things go good and He will continue to build you up, at those times, when things go bad. Giving you the joy of the Spirit in all you do, trusting in Christ to provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Paul cautions the Corinthians:

7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” 

The Lottery can be a trial and a temptation. Money is called the root of all evil. But really it is the love of money that is the root of all evil.

Take the story of Mark and Cindy Hill for example. They are so far the exact opposite of what lottery winners are. They, you may remember, won $136.5 million dollars, take home, after taxes to do what they want.

Well, we all know too well the stories of those past lottery winners who got sucked into the temptation to lie and be of the world and all it has to offer. 
To spend and to indulge and in the end to burn out, return to having no riches in the world, or even death as happened last year to Urooj Khan, who died just two months after winning $1 million in the Illinois lottery. 

But, Mark and Cindy Hill, a Christian couple, are so far a bit different. They are building their little town a new fire station, and moving the ball field to a safer place for the teams to play and have given $50,000 to buy land so the town and build a new waste treatment plant so that all the residents can get off the old septic system. Mark was going to treat himself to a new Chevy Camaro but instead bought himself a new truck which was a more practical choice in his mind. The point is they are taking the opportunity to make a difference and to show Christian love to those that are in their community.
From what they friends say, it is right in line to the Christian beliefs that they live and practice. Love of God and of thy neighbor.

They had said that they would take care of their children and give most of the rest away and they seem to be doing just that. But, if temptation does raise its ugly head, they will once again turn to into the word and to Jesus Christ the word made flesh for their strength and comfort.

Christ is faithful and will provide you a way!

God’s provision is faith and it is that gift that He has given you through the Gospel. Both is word and sacrament God gives the Holy Spirit to draw you to faith in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ who came to live, suffer, die and rise again for each one of us.

God, through those means that he has given, will keep those through those same means by hearing it proclaimed, reading and meditating on the word keep you in His blessed will which is to keep you, in Him, in Christ and to see that you have a way out of the temptations that plague us all and are common to us all.

Christ is faithful and will provide you a way!

Floyd Collins in 1925 got stuck in the sand cave on his property, and in this life we all can get stuck, through our own evil desires, in our own caves of sin and temptation. 

Floyd’s joy was to explore underground and to see if this cave on his property could be used as a means to sustain his life, but ultimately in the end it became the cause of the end of his life. 

Christ Jesus and his word are and will always be a way out of the temptations you face. He will comfort you in times of trouble when you feel stuck by sin and its consequences and can’t get away to safety; but also when the windfall of lottery winnings, so to speak, bring the temptation of joy and prosperity in this life God, through His word, will bring a word of caution and grounding at this time too. Be comforted with this blessed news that:

Christ is faithful and will provide you a way!

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.

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