Sermon for 14th Day After Pentecost-Proper 29 09/11/2022
Jeremiah 9_12, 22-27; Jeremiah 9-11-12; 22-28; Psalm 14: 1st Timothy- 05?
In our lesson from Jeremiah, God is sufficiently angry enough with His people that He is ready to judge them now, today, within the hour.! God was telling this people and all of Jerusalem, ‘A scorching wind from the barren heights in the desert blows toward my people, but not to winnow or cleanse my people; no, he tells Jeremiah this wind is too strong for that comes from me. Now I prompting my judgment against them.” This was to be a wind too strong for that which comes from me. For now I am pronouncing a judgment, which is stronger than anything coming from Me. This wind is stronger than anything that comes from Me, and it will leave nothing untouched in its path. My people are fools; they do not know me; they have no senseless children who have no understanding; they are skilled in doing evil and do not not know how to do good. The earth is formless and empty and the heavens and their light was gone; the mountains and ground were shaking, birds had flown away; I looked and the fruitful land was a desert all its towns lay in ruins before the Lord, before His fierce anger; The Lord says: the whole land will be ruined, the earth will mourn and the heavens above grow dark, because I have spoken and will not relent, I have decided and will not turn back.”
God’s intervention in our lives to punish sin is deserved, yet shockingly unexpected. We can blame no one except ourselves. People worshiped God, but slowly things changed and it was alright to work God with other gods, seeking political power they did have, they worshiped fertility gods and the process of the one True God was watered down to a point of losing its very meaning, and this, God could not and would not allow to continue. Take a look around the world of today, what we are witnessing is the same kind of rubbish that God saw in 600 BC. We are seeing extreme pressures being put on Christians to modify our worship, to be more and more coerced into accepting behavior that is against what the Bible teaches is wrong. At times those in the church feel somewhat like Jeremiah did, that bringing bad news to the congregations will push more out of the church in search of somewhere we can go and serve God.
In our psalm today, Righteous suffering and prosperity of the wicked do not prove God has lot interest and will not act to restore justice. Sin involves atheism. Such atheism argues philosophically that God does not exist. It argues practically with every action of life that God does not care and He will not act. Such an approach a particular moment of life lies behind a sinful act. Every person is guilty both of the attitude and the act. The only solution to our sin problem is to seek God consciously in every moment of our lives. In every decision of life, and through every act of life. This psalm contrasts the wickedness of scorn from God with a thoroughgoing righteousness of regard for God in Psalm 15. The extreme evil derives from lack of faith. Unbelief is foolish because the skeptic never learns or never experiences God’s presence. The prayer is given in worship or instructions (v 1), showing the prayer not only speaks to God but also instructs the congregation.
In God’s sight all people are sinners. We have each chosen to ignore (1) and not to do what is good. Failure to do good is a sinful as choosing bad. The sinful life has turned sour, losing desire and ability to make proper moral choices. Only calling on he Lord can change such sinners. By calling on God they can find forgiveness and become part of he community He calls righteous as He looked down from heaven.
In our lesson from 1st Timothy, it states, “Here God is called Savior,” a term we normally apply to Jesus. Jesus came to this earth and died fro our sins. The Father chose to save us and worked out His salvation plans through Jesus. This reveals the close relationship between the three Persons of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Though the three are inseparably connected to the other Two Persons and what they do. Jesus taught humanity while on earth, the importance of self-giving love, and this love is grounded in the self-giving love with the Trinity. The church’s greatest danger come not from those who oppose Christianity, but from those who want to modify Christian beliefs to suit cultural values, political doctrines, and popular superstitions. Another challenge to the integrity of the church is the presence of numbers of unqualified persons who pose as teachers, as they tend to promote conflict and controversy rather love, which is to goal of Christian teaching.
Saul of Tarsus, who became Paul the apostle to the Gentiles, is exhibit A of God’s grace in Christ Jesus. The grace saved Paul can save us all. Thus, showing no person is too evil to be saved through God’s grace. This was Jesus’ basic mission to gain salvation for sinners. He thus made salvation available to everyone.
Finally, we reach the Gospel of Luke and we see Jesus telling the parables or stories of the Lost Sheep and the woman who lost a coin in her home. Keep in mind, he is eating with the tax collector and sinners (although I thought they were all considered as sinners by the religious leadership) Sure enough the Pharisees and Sadducces show up right on time and question Jesus eating with all the sinners and the Religious Leaders say, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” He says imagine you have a 100 sheep and one happens to get lost. Does he not leave the 99 and search for the 1 until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts the lost one on his shoulders and takes him tome. Then, he calls his friends and neighbors and tell them of his good fortune and says, “rejoice with me, 1 on my sheep was lost, but I found it and brought it home.’ Then Jesus says, surely there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons, who do not need to repent?
Not stopping, Jesus says suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. She gave her house the best cleaning it had ever had and found the coin. When she found the coin she calls her friends and neighbor and told them rejoice with her, for she had lost one of her coins but had found it. In the say way, I tell you there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
The religious leaders were more focused on who Jesus was eating with, than the possibility of gaining sinners to repent, even if was only one. Beloved, God wants all of us to come into the kingdom of Heaven, but we must repent of our sins, seeking forgiveness and begin to build a relationship with Him.
Some of the most gifted authors have sought to dispel Christianity, and found themselves changing their minds and accepting God through Jesus Christ. There are also many other people who have been exposed to scripture by the way Christians tried to minister to their needs of housing, food, clothing, and saw God in the faces and actions of those helping them. As I have said so many times before, it’s not about attendance and church, it’s about coming together on Sunday at the church with fellow Christians and worshiping and studying the Bible. My prayer for you is that you will all find Jesus in your own lives and come to know Him as a personal witness for Him to others. If you’ve made that decision, great. If you are waiting, I pray you will open your eyes to see Jesus where you live and that they are serving Him. Talk to one of them and see just how simple it is. I will tell you, that being a Christian is hard work, but it is so well worth the effort. It will change you, and you will change people around you. May God bless and touch each one you as only He can, and let us all rejoice in another sinner joining with us to worship and praise God, too.