Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Sermon March 17, 2021 – Lent 5

Title: For by grace, you have been saved!
Text: Eph. 2:1-10

Facebook live: For by grace, you have been saved!

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Charles S., age 95, of Waterford, passed away on February 20, 2021.

John L., age 63, passed away with his daughter by his side on February 15, 2021 in, GA. John was born in Detroit, MI, and grew up in Lake Orion and graduated Lake Orion High School in 1976.

Jessie C, died February 19, 2021, at home in, Lewiston, Michigan. In their 73 years of marriage, she and her husband Tom had 5 children. Her remains will be buried alongside her husband, and son. At this time there is a limit of 25 people in the funeral home.

Jan 23, 2021 - Hal Holbrook, the actor who channeled Mark Twain for decades has died at 95. A five-time Emmy winner, Holbrook was 82 when he became the oldest man (at the time) to receive an Oscar acting nomination when he was honored for his performance as a leatherwork expert in Into the Wild in 2007.

Holbrook played Twain longer than Samuel L. Clemens, who made Twain his pen name in 1863.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/hal-holbrook-dead-actor-who-played-twain-lincoln-and-deep-throat-728371

Death can cause us all to reflect for a moment … Florence, Karen, Heinz, Dick, Duane, Kathy, Elaine, Joan, Lucille and so many more.

The loss of a loved one brings life into focus. What they did, and how they did it, or maybe it’s what they didn’t do, or should have done that is remembered. Certainly, for these people who lived anywhere from their 60’s to their 90’s there is a time and a history to be remembered and looked at.

For Hal Holbrook – the famous one in this group - his life has impacted more people because of his public life and work.

But the reality of all of these lives has also a common thread.

2 And you … were dead in the trespasses and sins

Sin brings death and all who die are born in sin – not just covered in sin but being sinful throughout - though we would find it hard through our own sinful eyes to see the sin in a beautiful newborn child. But rest assured sinful they are and we also know that babies die, both in the womb and outside the womb, so life from conception to physical death is contaminated by sin.
God is the author of life, the creator of life, and it is through him that life comes forth. You and I have been created but also we have been recreated in baptism to restore the original righteousness that God created us to be but that image was broken by sin.

To this the Apostle Paul gives a clear picture:

2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Death in birth leads to death in life. We are born spiritually dead and all succumb to the sinful nature and are dead in trespass and sin, but

5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— because of God’s rich mercy.

Ill.

Many hymns are conceived in the midst of tragedy. In 1932, one such hymn came to be following the death of Thomas Dorsey's wife and infant son during childbirth.

Dorsey writes:

"Back in 1932 I was 32 years old and a fairly new husband. My wife, Nettie and I were living in a little apartment on Chicago’s Southside. One hot August afternoon I had to go to St. Louis, where I was to be the featured soloist at a large revival meeting. I didn’t want to go. Nettie was in the last month of pregnancy with our first child. But a lot of people were expecting me in St. Louis …

" … In the steaming St. Louis heat, the crowd called on me to sing again and again. When I finally sat down, a messenger boy ran up with a Western Union telegram. I ripped open the envelope. Pasted on the yellow sheet were the words: YOUR WIFE JUST DIED …

"When I got back, I learned that Nettie had given birth to a boy. I swung between grief and joy. Yet that night, the baby died [also]. I buried Nettie and our little boy together, in the same casket. Then I fell apart. For days I closeted myself. I felt that God had done me an injustice.

I didn’t want to serve Him anymore or write gospel songs and was lost in grief. Everyone was kind to me, especially a friend, who seemed to know what I needed. On the following Saturday evening he took me up to Malone’s College, a neighborhood music school. It was quiet; the late evening sun crept through the curtained windows. I sat down at the piano, and my hands began to browse over the keys."

Precious Lord, take my hand,
lead me on, let me stand,
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn;
Through the storm, through the night,
lead me on to the light:
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.

https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-precious-lord-take-my-hand

Do you wander daily sinful and unclean through the trials of life?

Do you follow the inclination of the heart? Which is described by Jeremiah in chapter 17 …

9 as deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked? Jer. 17:9

Does temptation reel you in at times where sin results?

It does for me and I’m sure for you as well.

But God’s mercy never wanders from you … or me. He has made us his own and will continue to - take our hand - and keep us in his loving care.

Because we have been:

6 raised and seated with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

That is life and forgiveness in his name for you and me and for all whom the Lord our God will call.

May God give peace to all who have been victims in the fight for life and may he comfort all who morn directing them to the author of life himself our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

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

 

 

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