Thursday, January 2, 2014

Sermon Dec. 14-15, 2013

Title: The Coming of Jesus brings joy for all who are found in Him!
Text: Matt. 11:2-15

2 Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

7000 Protestant youth from many denominations were asked whether they agreed with the following statements:

"The way to be accepted by God is to try sincerely to live a good life." More than 60% agreed.

"God is satisfied if a person lives the best life he can." Almost 70% agreed.

"The main emphasis of the gospel is on God’s rules for right living." More than half agreed.

The study found that 34% of all Americans can be identified as born again--that is, they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ, and say they will go to heaven because they have confessed their sins and accepted Christ as their savior. However, among those who have made a commitment to Christ, only 55 percent believe they will go to heaven because of faith in Christ. Most of those surveyed said they would go to heaven because of living a good life, or obeying the 10 commandments, or because all people will go to heaven. Others who said they believed Christ said they were unsure about what will happen to them after they die.

- Reported in Inland Northwest Christian News, March 1990, p. 3. 

There are times where you are unsure or doubt things in this life. You might feel unsure of how you’ll live up to other’s expectations. Or whether you can accomplish the goals you’ve set for yourselves. You might even doubt those you’ve place your trust in. But one thing you need not be unsure of is that:

The Coming of Jesus brings joy for all who are found in Him!

Doubt and being unsure was a problem for some of the disciples and followers of John the Baptist.
“They brought to John an account of Christ's work, of His preaching and its effect, of His miracles of healing and the astonishment of the people. John himself, filled with the Holy Ghost from his birth, having been a witness of the revelation of God and being thoroughly convinced of Christ's Messiahship, that He was the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, had no doubts concerning Christ and His mission. But the few disciples that were still clinging to him showed no inclination to leave him and follow the greater Teacher.

Therefore he sent them as a delegation with a definitely worded question: Art Thou the Coming One, or shall we expect another? The reference was clear to everyone that knew the Old Testament, Ps. 40:7, Then I said, “Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: and was intended to open the eyes of the questioners. "It is certain that John proposes the question for the sake of his disciples: for they did not yet think Christ to be He whom they should believe Him to be. And John had not come to draw disciples and the people to himself, but to prepare the way for Christ and bring all men to Christ, making them subject to Him ... But when Jesus began to perform miracles and was widely spoken of, then John thought he would dismiss his disciples from him and bring them to Christ, … so that all would cling to Christ and become Christians; and he sent them that they might learn, from Christ's words and works themselves, that He was the right man of whom John had spoken."

P. E. Kretzmann NT Vol. 1 Pg 61

John knew that the Lamb of God was Jesus and it was his intent to continue to point to Christ and though many of John’s disciples had begun to follow Jesus, others needed to be brought to Christ so that they might also believe.

What is different today? It is unbelief and unsureness, caused by sin which clouds understanding and reason in unbelievers and those who have been brought to faith but have fallen back in to unbelief.
The life of this corrupted world, filled with sin, death and the working of the devil can take the focus off of Christ and cause apathy or a lukewarm faith that is quickly turning cold and dead to Christ not recognizing Him for who He is … the savior of the world.

Ill.
There was once a flock of pelicans that happily fished off the coast of California.  One day, a fishing company began cleaning their catch at a nearby dock, where it was convenient for them to cast the discarded fish scraps into the water.  The pelicans, drawn to the daily ritual, soon gave up fishing for themselves and settled into a more domesticated existence.  Life was pretty good for these pelicans, at least until the fishermen discovered that there was a market for fish scraps.  Abruptly, the free meals ceased.
Despite this regrettable change of fortune, the pelicans continued to show up every day at meal-time, only to go away with empty stomachs.  It wasn’t long before the lack of sustenance began to take its toll.  The unsightly appearance of the emaciated birds eventually drew the public’s attention, and experts were called in to investigate the cause of their plight.  For some unknown reason, the pelicans no longer seemed able to access the abundance of food that teemed just below them in the sea.  After a thorough investigation, it was concluded that the pelicans were starving to death because they’d forgotten how to fish! Have you ever heard of anything so absurd?  Pelicans were made to fish.  But they had forgotten who they were and what they were made to do.

Sadly, there is a spiritual parallel to this, and it’s just as puzzling. It’s when a child of God forgets who they are and how they are to access the profound blessings teeming just below the surface of their everyday life. We suffer from spiritual amnesia when we allow our doubts and fears to rob us of the joy and fruitfulness that would naturally be ours. Believe what God says about you and you will thrive. You are His beloved child, fully accepted, and profoundly valued. You have been given great and eternal purposes to fulfill. Those who forget who they are in Christ waste away.

 Dr. Mitchell Dillon

The Coming of Jesus brings joy for all who are found in Him!

7 As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. 9 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is he of whom it is written,

“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
    who will prepare your way before you.’

John was sent to prepare the way so that you might rejoice in the coming of the one who would save you from your sins. But not only you, for Christ came to redeem the world corrupted by sin and to give, by the power of the Holy Spirit, faith to believe this blessed good news.

We rejoice today that God was not so callus that He walked away from our failing and sin filled life but has sent his son to be the very sacrifice that you and I could never be. He came in that manger; God joined to human flesh so that He might take your place and be both sacrifice for sin and savior for the world.
Rejoice that God did not forget you in your sin but sent his son.

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation which means the turning away of (God’s) wrath by an offering- by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. (Rom. 3:23-25)

Rejoice that you are forgiven in Him.

The Coming of Jesus brings joy for all who are found in Him!

Living a good life is only important if it is done in Christ as a fruit of faith and for your neighbors. By God working in you, He has made you acceptable to the Father because when God sees you He sees Christ!
In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen


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