18th Sunday after Pentecost – C (Proper 21) LSB #688
Text – 1 Timothy 6:9
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless & harmful desires that plunge people into ruin & destruction.
THE DESIRE TO BE RICH
Two men ended up shipwrecked on an island. The minute they got to land one of them started screaming frantically, “We’re going to die! We’re going to die! There’s no food! No water! We’re going to die!” The other man propped himself up against a palm tree & rested calmly. It made the 1st man even crazier: “Don’t you understand? We are going to die here!”
The man leaning against the tree simply replied, “You don’t understand. I make $100,000 a week.” The 1st man looked at him dumbfounded & yelled, “What difference does that make? We’re on an island with no food or water! You can’t buy anything here. We’re going to die!”
The wealthy man answered, “Let me explain it to you in more detail. I make $100,000 per week, & I tithe 10% of that every week. We don’t have to worry. My pastor is going to find me!”
Naturally, that leads to a very obvious question, “If you were stranded on an island in the Pacific Ocean, would your pastor bother to come looking for you?” I realize that’s a pretty harsh question, but it does drill down right to the heart of the issue. Giving away our money runs totally contrary to the desire to be rich.
Of course, it doesn’t say much either, for your pastor, if money is the driving force behind his willingness to search for you. According to Jesus, the shepherd is supposed to leave the 99 in order to find the one who is lost, but pastors are sinners too. A little motivation helps sometimes. Have you been giving your pastor any reason to come searching for you should you end up lost? Thank God that Jesus came for us while we were yet sinners, & not because of the amount of money we were giving in our offerings. The fact that news reports occasionally highlight how many billionaires there are in the world, shows that money still grabs the attention of people.
It does so because there is a longing in everyone’s heart for control & security. We’d be less than honest if we try to make the case that money is not the quickest way there. Granted, in light of eternity, control & security here on earth is an illusion, but money does talk. It’s a fact that cannot be denied, in the world in which we live.
Our Father in heaven is well aware of those facts & His Spirit inspired St. Paul to write the words of warning to Timothy because of that. In spite of its warning, many preachers & teachers of God’s Word have fallen because of the desire to be rich. We don’t need a puzzle to illustrate the issues for this sermon. They are all alive & well right in your heart & in mine.
Thus, St. Paul writes to warn Timothy, “…the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith & pierced themselves with many sorrows.” (6:10) People desire riches for control & security, but that isn’t what they end up with. Rather, all kinds of evils are what they get, if not losing their faith.
Satan tempted Eve by saying, “You will not surely die.” Eve gave in to the temptation when she, “…saw that the tree was good for food, & that it was a delight to the eyes, & that the tree was to be (here’s a key word) desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit & ate…” Eventually, regardless of the devil’s promise, Eve died.
The desire to be rich is just as deadly. Once we begin to have “enough” money, it tends to get more & more difficult to let go of. There are a lot of things money can buy, & the culture of our nation for 60 years now, has been built upon buying stuff, & lots of it. You can know pastors & people by their fruits, such as greed. The Apostle Paul is making that point as he writes to Timothy. What do the fruits of your life reveal? The next four Sundays we will be hearing sermons that look at the fruits of our lives. We’ll be considering four broad categories of the blessings our heavenly Father has given us, & how His children make use of them.
People desire riches for control & security, but those blessings reside entirely in the hands of our heavenly Creator. He gives them as He chooses, but ultimately the only security we ever have is in God’s love for us that He demonstrated so clearly on the cross at Golgotha. As for our desire to be in control that is pure idolatry.
The Bible teaches us to practice self-control. Our sinful nature rejects that &, instead, wants to control others. That’s why these words are so descriptive of human attitudes, “Do as I say, not as I do.” All of us, black & white, rich & poor, male & female, are hypocrites at heart.
From the Gospel reading, once the rich man is in hell, then he finally acknowledges his need for Lazarus, the poor man who’d laid on his doorstep for so many years: “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, & send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water & cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.”
Jesus knows well the temptation involved in desiring riches. He lived His life on earth in poverty. Then, He was betrayed for money, by the man who was stealing it from the offerings people gave to Jesus in support of His ministry. Judas was a thief in more ways than one, yet the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world called him, “Friend…” (Matthew 26:50 ESV)
If you want to fight the temptation to pornography, it’s obvious you need to get rid of the pornography. If you want to fight the temptation to be in total control, it’s obvious you need to completely give up control. If you want to fight the desire to be rich, it should be clear that you need to give up your wealth. Share it in this life before you lose it in the next, as the rich man from the Gospel reading did. God teaches us to give offerings generously, not because He is greedy, but because our Lord knows how powerful a temptation wealth can be. That which our sinful heart desires most is exactly what we need to give away in order to combat the temptation. Every Sunday we have an opportunity to put faith into practice by giving.
Our heavenly Father, out of love for us, calls us to give of our money out love for His forgiveness. He calls us to give of our time, our energy, our talents & abilities, our knowledge & experience, to give of our very heart & soul, to give of all our blessings so that the things of this world do not become more important than the things of the next world.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart & with all your soul & with all your strength & with all your mind, & your neighbor as yourself.” Nowhere does the Gospel of Luke tell us to love money. “But if we have food & clothing, with these we will be content.” The desire to be rich leads to spiritual & eternal destruction. It never gains contentment.
St. Paul began this section of teaching with these words, “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment.” What our heart & soul feel as missing in our lives is not something that can be gained with riches. Security, peace & contentment come only from resting in the fact that our heavenly Father truly does love us even while we are lost.
He sent His only-begotten Son to search for you. Jesus gave up the wealth & splendor of heaven to suffer a horrible death here on earth, so that you could experience, forever, the utter bliss of paradise. He’d be the greatest of fools to have suffered crucifixion for a lie.
And it’s not just God’s word, but the witness of His human disciples who were called specifically for the purpose of testifying to the truth of Jesus’ claims. 1 John 1:1 tells us this concerning our Savior: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon & have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life.” Jesus is that Word of life & His disciples gave their lives in order to tell the story of unseen things above, of Jesus & His glory, of Jesus & His love.
Whatever riches our Lord gives to us in this life vanish from our hands the moment we die. The love that Christ gives to us will last forever & ever. Our sins of greed have been paid for, but they still vex us in this life. True contentment comes from taking hold of eternal life, & believing it & living it. Your sinful nature is dead. It’s time to stop listening to it.
Jesus is done giving His life for you, but He never quits giving His life to you. If He offered millions of dollars you’d scramble to take it. Somehow, when He offers His life to us, in His Word & Holy Communion & Baptism, we find it difficult to make the time to receive it.
Death was rapidly approaching for St. Paul. In that context he urges his protégé Timothy not to get sucked into the scramble for the temporary things of earth, but to strive for the eternal, & far more beneficial, things of heaven:
“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called & about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
In today’s sermon text, God is not condemning wealth, but He is strongly warning us against the desire to be wealthy. That desire is a lust which will devour us; a deadly condition of the heart that our Savior is warning us against. He came to earth, searching for you, even if your pastor does not, while you were still lost in your sins & your fallen desires.
In Matthew 6:33, the antidote for such a condition is given: “But seek 1st the kingdom of God & His righteousness, & all these things will be added to you.” It’s true, here on earth God may choose to add wealth to you, but come the day of your death that wealth will certainly be taken from you. In heaven, all God’s children will be living in the lap of luxury, it will never
be taken from us, & best of all, we will never get spoiled or corrupted by any of it. Amen.
“Come, follow Me,” the Savior spake, “All in My way abiding; deny yourselves, the world forsake, obey My call & guiding. O bear the cross, whate’er betide, take My example for your guide.” I teach you how to shun & flee what harms your soul’s salvation, your heart from every guile to free, from sin & its temptation. I am the refuge of the soul & lead you to your heavenly goal. Amen. LSB 688:1, 4.
 Genesis 3:6 ESV
 Luke 10:27 ESV
 1 Timothy 6:8 ESV
 1 Timothy 6:6 ESV
18th Sunday after Pentecost – C (Proper 20) LSB #526
Text – 1 Timothy 2:5
For there is one God, & there is one mediator between God & men, the man Christ Jesus.
ONE GOD, ONE MEDIATOR
When I was young, one of the things our family liked to do over the winter months was put together picture puzzles. We had maybe six different ones & each winter season we’d put those same puzzles together. For our family it was a relaxing way of spending time together. My sisters might recall it differently but it seems like we didn’t fight as much doing puzzles.
As we heard in last Sunday’s sermon, puzzles can be used to illustrate important things about the decisions we make. We learned that living our lives is sort of like putting together a puzzle without the picture of what it will look like when it’s done. The good news though, is that our heavenly Creator has the picture & ultimately He is the one putting our lives together.
Today, we’re asking the question, “How many different ways are there to correctly put together a puzzle?” You heard the answer in the children’s message. Try as we might, there’s only one way to do it & it is the creator of the puzzle who decides which way is correct. A picture is cut into different pieces & it can only go back together in the way it was cut.
During the process of assembling it, there’re always different opinions about which piece goes where, but when finished all those questions are laid to rest. If you can’t accept that, you’ll never do well at putting together puzzles. Some people have a problem with the fact that in spiritual matters also there is only one mediator, only one path, only one way, to heaven.
When dealing with tough questions about all the different religions, the meaning of life, its joys & its sufferings, it’s become popular for people to find comfort in saying this, “We’re all going to the same place, we’re just taking different roads to get there.” For now, that answer has the ability to relieve the tension. It helps people to put off the struggle, but if that answer is wrong, it only delays the struggle by piling all of it up for eternity, in a place where the struggle will never, ever come to an end. In His Word, God has named that place for us & its name is hell. If that word & concept causes you stress, I urge you not to put off the struggle of confronting it, because Jesus Himself taught us that hell is real:
“The Son of Man will send His angels, & they will gather out of His kingdom all causes of sin & all law-breakers, & throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping & gnashing of teeth. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out & separate the evil from the righteous & throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping & gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:41-42, 49-50 ESV)
What good would heaven be if sin & its causes were not removed from us? What would be the point of living fully with God if evil still existed in such a place? The opposite side of that coin then, is that hell will be a place where God is not. For all who want to follow a path other than that which their Creator designed the absence of love lies at the end of that road.
God is love. Where God is not, there is no love. Evil & love are mutually exclusive. Yet, they are the two realities around which everything revolves. So it is true, there is more than one road, however, they do not all lead to the same place. In essence, there are only two types of road; one leads to eternal life, the other type to eternal death.
In a serious matter, such as where we spend forever, it is heartless to lie to someone about the path to heaven, even if they find that lie to be comforting. If you have cancer, but the doctor lies to you, so you don’t feel bad, you’d switch doctors once you found out. Even if we don’t understand it at the moment, only “…the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32 ESV)
St. Paul wrote to Timothy “[God] desires all people to be saved & to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2:4 ESV) Just as there’s only one true way to assemble a puzzle, there is only one true way to have life. Any other path leads to death, so in that sense it is true, there are many roads that people travel. Sadly, all but one of them lead to death – forever. Jesus Christ “…is the Way, & the Truth & the Life. No one can come to the Father except through [Him].” (John 14:6 ESV) The sermon text is making the same case, “For there is one God, & there is one mediator between God & men, the man Christ Jesus.” Over & over, the Bible consistently holds up the same truth, there’s only one road to heaven & God Himself designed it.
One thing you quickly learn in doing puzzles is that each piece has only one place where it fits. Try as you might, no matter how much the colors or lines seem to match somewhere else, that piece will never fit anywhere other than where it belongs. By design, the creator of the puzzle determines where that piece will go, & how the puzzle will look once it’s complete.
To fight that defeats the whole purpose of assembling a puzzle. To fight God, the Designer & Creator of every living thing, defeats the whole purpose of being alive. Each one of us, with all the unique twists & turns of our personality, has a definite design & purpose for every moment & every day of our being.
There are thousands of pieces to the puzzle of each of our lives, & we are interconnected to the puzzle of other people’s lives. All of us together make up another picture puzzle called St. Matthew Lutheran Church, & Holt Lutheran Schools, & Sonshine Early Childhood Center. The complexity of all that design is far beyond even our imagination, let alone our ability.
Most of the time, that overall design isn’t easy to see. Sometimes it is impossible. In last week’s sermon we considered some reasons for that. We don’t know what the complete picture of our life is supposed to look like. Sometimes we don’t take all the pieces out of the box. Lastly, there are pieces of everyone’s puzzle that contain clouds & thick darkness.
So we find comfort in knowing that our heavenly Father is the One who’s actually constructing the puzzle. We take consolation in knowing that God is love & He works all the puzzle pieces together for the good of those who love Him. We know this because God did not withhold His own Son from us. He sent Jesus to pay the price for our sins. Yahweh sent His only-begotten Son to be a piece in your puzzle, to take on human flesh so He could be your mediator, your go-between, the God-Man through Whom you have complete access to the Designer & Creator of your life.
Jesus bridges the gulf between a holy God & a sinful, wretched mankind. On the cross Jesus did what only God can do – offer a sinless life of perfection. He also did what only man could do – bleed, suffer & die. Thus it is to Jesus Whom we pray. It is through Jesus Whom we pray, & St. Paul teaches us to pray for everyone.
As a basic result of the Good News, the Church prays for all people because Jesus died for all people. In 1 Thessalonians Paul wrote that we should pray without ceasing. Life is better for us, our puzzle is more like the picture God sees, if we’re talking with our Lord all day long; not just in thanks, not simply for help in times of trouble.
We need not shy away from prayer because we’re ashamed of our lives. Yahweh hears our prayers not because we deserve to be heard. God hears our prayer because of the holy life that Jesus lived for us. In hell, their prayers will not be heard, because Jesus will not be mediator for those who rejected His mediation.
It’s not like they rejected a mean & hate filled teaching. What better news could a broken people, living in a broken world hear than this: “[God] desires all people to be saved & to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, & there is one mediator between God & men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all…” (1 Timothy 2:4-6 ESV)
The problem is not that there is only one Mediator, or only one Way to eternal life. The problem is that some people reject the Designer’s solution. Jesus is the mediator who connects us, once again, daily even, to our Creator. The Fall into sin had separated us. As we thought about it last week, it’s impossible to independently put the puzzle of our lives together with a good result. We need Jesus to guide & direct us through His Spirit. There is only one revealed God, only One deity who placed Himself into the human puzzle. Therefore there’s only one gracious will that all people would be saved.
Jesus has restored the relationship that was meant to exist between God & mankind. The One who became Man hears your prayers with the ears of One who has lived in this troubled world & suffered the death that comes to a man of peace in a world of war. No matter what others might tell you, there is only one God, one true Mediator between Holiness & us.
Because of our sinful nature, a huge struggle within takes place while we come to grips with that. Today, St. Paul is urging you not to put off that struggle until eternity. Pray to Jesus for help in the struggle. Pray for strength. Pray for healing & pray for the government of our land, because our earthly wellbeing is bound up with those governing our nation. Amen.
You are the way; through You alone can we the Father find; in You, O Christ, has God revealed His heart & will & mind. You are the truth; Your Word alone true wisdom can impart; You only can inform the mind & purify the heart. You are the way, the truth, the life; grant us that way to know, that truth to keep, that life to win whose joys eternal flow. Amen. LSB 526:1, 2, 4.
17th Sunday after Pentecost – C (Proper 19) LSB #’s 707, 513 tune 672, 540 v. 1-4
Text – Ezekiel 34:12
As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, & I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds & thick darkness.
CLOUDS & THICK DARKNESS
When a severe thunderstorm or tornado is moving in the sky can get scary black. It’s especially eerie if there’s no wind at the time. You can sense, quite literally, that it is the calm before the storm. The word picture which Ezekiel creates, with the phrase ‘clouds & thick darkness,’ can likewise bring ominous thoughts to mind.
What is Ezekiel trying to tell us? More importantly, what message is the Holy Spirit inspiring Ezekiel to convey to his audience? Why this gloomy image of clouds & thick darkness? We certainly have enough doom & gloom in our world today. Since September 11 of 2001, the word terrorism has had no chance of leaving our vocabulary.
The sickness of sin is boiling over in so many ways across every nation on the planet. Corruption, greed, hatred & selfishness seem to be ruling the day. People are being scattered across the globe due to the wars & unrest in the Middle East. Do our days qualify as a day of clouds & thick darkness?
Sexual immorality of all kinds is almost fully legalized across the Western world, which used to be known as the Christian world. It’s not that morality will save anyone, but immorality is a symptom of sin, & rampant immorality, or legalized immorality, is a symptom of a culture gone bad. The teaching of Jesus in Matthew 7 clearly & logically illustrated the problem:
“So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.” (7:17 ESV) Our nation has become a diseased tree. In Biblical thought, the world has been diseased ever since Adam & Eve defied God’s warning not to eat of the forbidden tree. You could say that Adam & Eve listened to the words of a false prophet: “But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, & you will be like God, knowing good & evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5 ESV) Going back to Matthew 7, Jesus leads into His teaching on the healthy & diseased tree with these words:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.” (Matthew 7:15-17 ESV)
Jesus is connecting the diseased tree, the immoral culture, to false prophets, & essentially they’re people who tell many lies. The 1st false prophet was Lucifer. Many have followed after him since. Jesus describes them as ravenous wolves who can never gather enough for themselves. So they feed off of others even while they come to you in sheep’s clothing.
It’s a foregone conclusion that such people will not inherit eternal life, so in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus isn’t warning them. He’s warning us, who still are the children of God. The danger is that we could end up like the diseased tree, so listen carefully to Jesus’ conclusion:
“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down & thrown into the fire. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” (Matthew 7:19 & 21 NASB) Being thrown into the fire is a picture of Judgment & the eternal suffering awaiting those who reject God’s love.
The end result sounds a bit like clouds & thick darkness, does it not? The culture around us has been changing for many years. The signs are ominous. The culture within this church has also been changing. The fruit of building with too much straw is coming home to roost. It will be burned up with fire! The clouds & thick darkness that God allows into our lives can be difficult to deal with. Whether that means trial & suffering, or being left in the dark, trying to wait patiently for answers, living in this broken world is similar to putting together a puzzle without the picture of what it should look like. Have you tried to put a puzzle together without the picture? It can be done if it’s a 25 piece puzzle, but whose life is that simple?
Even aspects of our lives that are finished, where we can see how decisions & events played out, aren’t always perfectly clear in our mind. Why did seminary turn out like it did? Had you arranged the pieces differently, would your life have turned out better? Did we lose some of the pieces in the process of putting the puzzle together?
As difficult as living can be we do learn over time which leaves room for doubt about the choices we’ve made while assembling the puzzle of our lives. All of us have arrived here having passed through times of clouds & thick darkness, days or weeks even when we didn’t know which way to turn, or what choice to make, or could not find the courage to make it.
Those times of clouds & thick darkness are often moments when we question God’s love for us. Where are you Lord? What are doing? How on earth do these pieces fit into the puzzle of my life? The edges can seem sharp & jagged rather than smooth & straight. The prophet Isaiah addressed those very thoughts in the 10th verse of chapter 50:
“Who is among you that fears the Lord, that obeys the voice of His servant, that walks in darkness & has no light?” (NASB)
So far we’ve only considered the past moments & events of our lives. Even though they’re already completed we aren’t entirely certain if we’ve assembled the puzzle correctly. We also have questions about the number of times God has allowed the clouds & thick darkness to enter our picture.
Now, imagine assembling the puzzle pieces of our future. We don’t even know if we
one, let alone which pieces are contained in it. Do they have a lot of smooth edges with bright cheery colors that make the puzzle easy to assemble? Are there lots of sharp & jagged edges instead, with too many dark & threatening shades of black & blue?
You see, in many ways each of us can look at our lives as a giant puzzle with thousands of interconnecting pieces. Yet, without having the picture of what it’ll look like once it’s done, how are we supposed to be pulling it all together? Because we don’t get to see the picture of our future, we’re handicapped in putting together the puzzle.
It’s only natural for human beings to try & find a way to overcome that handicap. We strive so mightily to rid our lives of the clouds & thick darkness. We try & put the puzzle together on our own, in other words, without the help of the Triune God who created us. Sin causes enough problems, without our help. When we join the team things only get worse.
Our attempts to construct the future are in many respects working with the wrong questions, the wrong framework, the wrong mindset. Do you remember that verse I quoted earlier from Isaiah chapter 50? I have to admit that in order not to jump the gun I left the 2nd sentence of that verse out in my 1st reading. That’s because I wanted to include it here:
“Who is among you that fears the Lord, that obeys the voice of His servant, that walks in darkness & has no light?” That’s the portion you heard earlier. Here’s the rest of it: “Let him trust in the name of the Lord & rely on his God.” That is our heavenly Creator’s answer to the clouds & thick darkness which confuse our vision & our thinking.
The Gospel of John gives us very similar advice in the 20th chapter: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, & that by believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30-31 ESV) Trusting in the name of the Lord – that’s where the puzzle of our lives comes together. It is so simple that until we come to the end of ourselves, to the end of our independent will, we can never truly accept it. Until we recognize that we are a diseased tree, & thus surrender to Jesus, we will never produce good fruit.
Now we can finally return to the first 90% of the sermon text for today: “As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, & I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered…” (Ezekiel 34:12 ESV) The clouds & thick darkness only make up the final 10% of the text.
That also was intentional so I wouldn’t jump the gun with the reading from Ezekiel. When a tornado is moving in, the sky can get scary black & if no wind is blowing you can feel the calm before the storm. In reality, today’s sermon text is more about the calm after the storm.
Yes, the clouds & thick darkness are a foreshadowing of Judgment Day, but God’s children need to keep in mind that for us, the Last Day is a good one. As the majority of the text from Ezekiel makes clear, God in the person of Jesus will come, & has already come, as the Good Shepherd to seek out His sheep & rescue us from wherever the Judgment has scattered us.
Because of Christ’s love for you, demonstrated so clearly on the cross, you have nothing to fear. Instead, the clouds & thick darkness are a sign & reminder of God’s deliverance. Living by faith instead of by sight allows us see the events of life far differently than do the unbelievers. The Day of clouds & thick darkness is meant to remove all evil from our lives.
What we constantly need to remind ourselves of is that God is the One creating & putting together the puzzle. We are NOT the brains behind this operation. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who seeks out His sheep. Our only task is to, at some point, stop running away. Once we surrender, Yahweh can put the puzzle of our lives together in a way that is a blessing.
The picture of your life has many pieces to it. Guess which one is the most important?
Are you leaving some of the pieces of your life’s puzzle in the box? Since Jesus isn’t walking among us in person, like He did 2000 years ago, He has given us His Word, Baptism & Holy Communion as the next most important pieces of your puzzle. They are the means by which God’s Spirit creates & sustains faith & therefore true life within you.
Judgment Day is coming but not to punish believers for their sins. The wrath & anger of God has already been spent upon His Son. We truly are living in the calm after the storm of the crucifixion. Listen to these words so you can comprehend how they tie in with the sermon title:
“It was now about the 6th hour, & there was darkness over the whole land until the 9th hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this He breathed His last.” (Luke 23:44-46 ESV)
Jesus has already come as the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. Now He comes as the Good Shepherd to seek & to save that which was lost. The clouds & thick darkness may be gathering in our lives. Whether it takes one year or a thousand, Judgment Day is approaching. Put your trust in the One who is assembling the puzzle of your life. Amen.
The clouds of judgment gather, the time is growing late; be sober & be watchful, our judge is at the gate: the judge who comes in mercy, the judge who comes in might to put an end to evil & diadem the right. Arise, O true disciples; let wrong give way to right, & penitential shadow to Jesus’ blessed light: the light that has no evening, that knows no moon or sun, the light so new & golden, the light that is but one. Oh, happy, holy portion, relief for all distressed, true vision of true beauty, refreshment for the blest! Strive now to win that glory, toil now to gain that light; send hope ahead to grasp it till hope be lost in sight. Amen.
Pastor Dean R. Poellet