Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Sermon October 22-23, 2016

Title: With childlike faith there is salvation!
Text: Luke 18:9-17

17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”


It has been said that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those, who in time of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.

Source Unknown.

Robert Fulghum wrote in the Kansas City Times, "Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.

"These are the things I learned: Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don't take things that aren't yours. Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody . . . When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands, and stick together … Unless you become like little children, you won't enter the kingdom of heaven."

Hugh Duncan.

So what is child like faith?

Well, Webster says of a child: It is an unborn or recently born person; a young person especially between infancy and youth; a childlike or childish person; a person not yet of age; a son or daughter of human parents; one strongly influenced by another or by a place, or state of affairs.

And about faith Webster says: It’s a strong belief or trust in someone or something; belief in the existence of God; strong religious feelings or beliefs; a system of religious beliefs; fidelity to one's promises; sincerity of intentions; belief and trust in and loyalty to God; belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion; firm belief in something for which there is no proof; complete trust.


So, picture if you will a young child standing on the side of a pool; not yet of age to swim and having not been taught how, but being strongly influenced by dad’s call to jump and that he will catch them.

The child too has strong feelings and beliefs, that if dad misses or drops me, “I will hit the water and I’m going to sink as fast as the stones I’ve dropped in the pool at the deep end!”

But dad has promised to catch them and so they place their trust his intentions … complete trust and loyalty in dad … though there is no proof. As the child jumps, dad catches … confirming their faith in the object of their safety - the one who will not let them fall.

It is true as well with our heavenly father. As St. Paul writes in our epistle lesson for today: 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. 2 Timothy 4:18

It is his promise.

So, where do we today place our trust? What is the object of faith for the Christian? Is it in our self? Is it in our parents? Is it in the church or religion as a whole? Is it society and political power? Is it strong or weak like a child?

15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.

Infants or babies can’t come to Jesus so “they” probable their parents or responsible adult were bringing them to him. Much like we continue to do with those gifts of God, those little boys and girls, who are brought as infants to the waters of Holy Baptism … where God himself marks them as his child.

As we compare this part of our reading with the earlier part dealing with the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. We see the strength of the Pharisee, who standing in his own strength, might, and faith brags:

12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’

Are you not God so pleased with me and all that I do and have done? He stands by himself, covered in his own righteousness and he calls out so that all can see and hear:

“… thank you … that I am not like other men ... extortioners, [those who get things through any way or any means that they can – sounds a bit like those running for office doesn’t it?] unjust, [the opposite of the truthful and fair are those who are unjust. Those who give you what you don’t deserve rather than what you do deserve, adulterers, [those who defile their marriage or live contrary to what God has commanded] or, even like this tax collector. [this poor tool of the government sent to extract all that is rightfully mine, we might suppose.]

Do we at times think the same? Are we at times not also, the Pharisee who looks at ourselves against the other Christian believers that we see, thinking how pleased God is with us and our good prayers, good works, and duty that we give to God? I know I have, and maybe you have too?

Oh … I hear a song coming on …

Oh Lord it's hard to be humble

When you're perfect in every way.

I can't wait to look in the mirror.

Cause I get better looking each day.

To know me is to love me.

I must be a hell of a man.

Oh Lord It's hard to be humble,

But I'm doing the best that I can.

Davis Mac - Oh Lord It's Hard To Be Humble Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Maybe you older folk remember Mac Davis and this little gem from 1980. I especially like and identify with the “to know me is to love me” part.

Well the truth is, that’s the Pharisee song with big faith in – me, myself and I. It’s humorous because we know there are people that do at times see themselves in that way … even when those people may be you and me.

Oh Lord I am a Pharisee

religious in every way.

I worship my God on the Sabbath,

and out in the public I pray.

I’m not like other sinners,

extortioners and the unjust.

Oh Lord I am a Pharisee,

and in myself I will trust.

The song that more clearly shows the child like faith that Jesus is talking about was written in the mid 1700’s by Henrietta L. von Hays.

I am Jesus little lamb, Ever glad at heart I am;

For my Shepherd gently guides me,

Knows my needs and well provides me,

Loves me every day the same,

Even calls me by my name.

Childlike faith clings to the savior as a child to his mother; Knowing that every need is provided for them by God daily, and that he lovingly calls each one of us by name.

Day by day, at home, away, Jesus is my staff and stay.

When I hunger, Jesus feeds me,

Into pleasant pastures feeds me;

When I thirst, he bids me go

where the quiet waters flow.

Every day our childlike faith is place in him. Whether hunger or thirst, we can find the pleasant pastures of rest in him as we daily remember the quiet waters of our own baptism of forgiveness where our sins have been washed away.

Who so happy as I am, Even now the shepherd’s lamb?

And when my short life is ended,

By his angel host attended,

He shall fold me to his breast,

There within his arms to rest.

Our joy with childlike faith is in the good shepherd Jesus who will, even as our life comes to a close and we look to him through the eyes of old age, comfort us all in his loving arms where we will rest with him in eternity.

Jesus says:

“Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Luke 18:16b-17

It is by God’s Grace, Mercy and Spirit that we too can receive his Kingdom with that blessed childlike faith. May we, by that same Spirit, pray to always remain in the one true faith as a child who is Jesus’ little lamb.

Let us close by singing together, I am Jesus little lamb hymn # 740 in the Lutheran Service book.

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


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