Sermon for 10th Sunday after Pentecost – 08-14-2022
Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 82; Hebrews 11:29-12:2; Luke 12:49-56
Today’s theme is about freedom, which for most of the men in prison I’ve worked with over the years was a very popular topic. Actually, that’s not always true, as many of them will not leave prison alive, but our job is always to help them find true freedom within the prison walls, and yes, it is possible, it just takes working at it like all things worthwhile.
Our lesson from Isaiah teaches us that divine and human freedom are essential elements of creation. They form the basis for properly understanding divine sovereignty and human responsibility. God created people as well as a world. He is free to act in accordance with His wishes, and He provides all that His people need and reveals His guidelines for life—-justice and righteousness. We are free to refuse our allegiance to our Creator and ignore His plans for our lives. He is free to deal with us as well make it necessary by our conduct. Our freedom keeps us from being robots and allows us to choose to relate to God in loving faith. His freedom to interact with His creation prevents Him from becoming an “absentee God,” far removed from His creation and powerless to control it.
After giving the house of Israel every advantage, God sang of His disappointment at Israel’s bad fruit. Woe and destruction await those who disappoint God with evil and bad fruit. Rejected love turns to wrath when righteousness becomes riotousness and loyalty turns to lament. Beloved God reveals His love for us by providing everything we need to produce fruit as His people. Then we do not return His love, He shows His love in judgment and discipline, seeking to save a remnant. The wrath of God results from His love being rejected by living in righteousness and justice. The lower classes of people were losing their holdings into the hands of the aristocrats. The call of the prophets was for restoration of the poor to their place of economic, social, and political independence. The basis for this call is in the nae of God’s justice that calls for relief from injustice. He expects righteousness instead of riots and legality instead of lamentation.
Psalm 82 is a prayer of lamentation for it has strong language characteristics Israel’s prayer to God. This psalm traced the cause of injustice to the heavenly throne and presented the call for God to straighten out the heavenly council. Prayer seeks to express honest impressions to God and trust Him to accept our language and minister to our situation. All beings in God’s creation are responsible to use their power and position to help the needy and to establish justice. The underlying theme is that other people claimed multiple gods, while Israel claimed the One God that controls all things. If we as a people were to come together to pray about one problem, God would hear His people as they have unified on one problem that is significant and necessary for Him to take action, but that they too, would participate in the solution. Showing Him you are willing to be held accountable for our problems, reveals we are at long last ready to be involved in the solution for our problems and a willingness to work with Him in solving problems that are common to our lives.
From Hebrews we hear the inspirational statement, “By our Faith the people passed through the Red Sea; the wall of Jericho fell after the people had marched around them for seven day; the prostitute Rahab, because she welcome the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient I did not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who administered justice and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again; others were tortured and refused to be release, so they again a better resurrection. I could go on, but the simple fact is that all of this and a great deal more was accomplished by faith in Christ Jesus and the people would not quit or make deals, they depended on their relationship with Christ and their faith, to obtain what had already been promised to them. Do you have this kind of faith? If not, what is holding you back from developing your faith? God has promised to care for us and our needs, and we must come to belief that He will do what He said He would do.
In the Gospel of Luke Jesus asks the question, “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be fine in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law.
Family relationships are given a high priority in the Bible, but the ultimate loyalty of every believer is to Jesus Christ as Lord. Beloved, the Prince of Peace brought disruption and division because people could not separate themselves from the comfort of their religious ways to see Him as the true fulfillment of God’s plans and purpose of true freedom. If you truly desire to be free of the trivial problems of this world, them you must let them go and place your faith in the only One who deserves your faith, Jesus Christ. Isn’t it time you quit worrying about every little thing that comes along and just place your faith as your number one priority and that you will trust Jesus? Tell Him today, Lord, I have sinned and desire to follow only You. Take away all worries from me and let me walk as You walk and trust You to take care of me from this day forward. I know you love me and now I understand how much I love you and my faith is completely in You alone. Amen