Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Philippians 3:17-4:1: Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself. Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long fore, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
Two Paths of Life:
God, through St. Paul, tells us very plainly, that there are two separate and distinct paths of life. They are:
People believe there are multiple paths of life. They believe that each path is unique and special. They believe that each path leads to a "heavenly goal." The thought behind it, "God loves me. He respects my choices and my decisions. So, if I lead a decent life, be nice to people, and try to be as good and right as I can, God will take that into consideration."
The problem with the thought is, it doesn't work. God, long ago in the Old Testament time, all ready stated, "You shall have no other gods before me." Thoughts, like the one above, puts the relationship with God on our shoulders, not His. Our relationship, our life, is on the work of God, not on me or you.
That is why knowing Jesus and believing that He is God and man at the same time, that He is THE ONE AND ONLY sacrifice that saves us, and that HE is the ONLY way into heaven, is so important.
Jesus forgave our sins. Jesus took away our sin through the sacrifice of His life. Jesus was horribly beaten, nailed to a cross, humiliated by those He came to save and abandoned by those who were His apostles. Jesus was left alone, carrying the curse of sin, our sin. His body was broken. His blood was shed. He died so that you, when believe in Him, will live.
And when you believe that, you have life and have it to the full.
There really are only two paths of life. One that is without Jesus. One that is with Jesus. Which one are you on? Let's talk about it.
Monday, March 18, 2019
Luke 13:1-6: There were some present at the very time who told Him [Jesus] about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And He [Jesus] answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you. But unless you repent, you will all like wise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them. Do you that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you. But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."
Tragedy and Sin:
People around Jesus needed to share outrage over the fact that Galileans' were killed by Pilate and their sacrifices were ruined. They were hoping that Jesus would share the same outrage. "These people must have been really bad in order to suffer the way that they did."
We Are All Sinners:
Jesus refocuses the outrage to the fact that all are sinners and all will die. Jesus is not not addressing "HOW" the Galileans died. Tragic as it was, people who suffer tragedy are not any greater a sinner than those that don't. Jesus' point is, "Every one needs to repent. If not, all will die."
Or said in another way, "We all sin. We all fall short of the glory of God. We will all die because of sin."
We will all die. Some tragically. The "HOW" we die does not matter. What matters is that sin is the cause of death. Repentance of sins and asking God to forgive our sins for the sake of Jesus Christ, leads to life.
Repent of your sins, turn them to God and Jesus will forgive them and cleanse you of all unrighteousness.
Receive the gift of life from God. Take hold of the wonderful grace and mercy of God because of the life of obedience Jesus lived, the offering of His life to save yours, and His rising to life to give to you His life, both now and forever.
Renew your direction and focus of life and light because of Jesus. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Live the life and light that is Jesus.
Want to know more? Do you have any questions? Feel free to comment.
Monday, March 11, 2019
Romans 10:8-9: But what does it say? "The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is the word of faith that we proclaim.) because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Confession: Used Two Ways:
Christians use confession in two ways. The first way is, "Confession of sins." We declare to God that we are sinners by nature and that we have sinned against God in "thought, word, and deed." This usage of confession is part of repentance. For example:
Dear God, I have sinned. The focus of my life lately has been on work and its' problems. I have neglected time with my family and more importantly, my time with You. I know that You are the one who gives me life and family and work. I am sorry that I have allowed my life to get out of balance. Please forgive me of this and all other sins of which I may not be aware.
The second way that we use confession is "Confession of faith" or "Confession of belief." The is the form of confession that St. Paul is describing in our passage. We confess that we believe in Jesus. We confess that we believe in the Father who is and who sent Jesus who saves us.
The Benefit of Both Confessions:
And what is really cool is, confession is simple.
"I am a sinner who relies on Jesus and His gift of forgiveness."
"I believe in Jesus and that He is Lord over all and over me."
Confession is that simple. AND confession reaps benefits beyond measure. Confession leads us to a new life with Jesus; BOTH in this lifetime AND the eternal lifetime.
What do you think? Do you have a question or two? Let's dive deeper into this passage today.
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee proclaming the Gospel of God and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the Gospel. (Mark 1:14-15).
The word, "Repent" literally means "to turn around." One could also say, "Reverse course, change your direction, turn 180 degrees from the path you are currently on."
In Christian circles, there is an additional layer of meaning. For what am I to repent? Why am I supposed to change direction?
The simple answer is, because the path that you are taking right now is sinful. It is against the will of God for you. If you stay on this path, you are disobeying God. And if you stay on this path, you will be walking your way right into hell.
Repent of your sins and be sure that "God, who is faithful and just, will forgive you of your sins and cleanse you of all unrighteousness." (1st John 1:9)
After you repent, you are forgiven. And that is what you receive.
God has forgiven you of your sins by means of the death of Jesus. His body that was broken and His blood that was shed, is the means by which God changes your life. It is a free gift to you from God. Take hold of it.
You have, by the power of the Holy Spirit, been broken. The grace of God in Jesus heals and restores you. Receive His grace and love.
And when you receive and accept the gift of life, then you can...
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
Through repentance, you receive God's grace and mercy. Once you have that, you are renewed. The Holy Spirit actively works in you to lead you to turn around (repent), receive His Grace, so that your life is made new.
Renewal is about living in the grace and mercy. It is about living transformation, about being different than you were. God changed you by Jesus' death and resurrection. Now live in His grace.
So that is our focus throughout the season of Lent. And you are invited to be a part of that focus every Sunday morning at 10:30 and every Wednesday at 6:30pm. Come and join with us.
Monday, March 4, 2019
Matthew 6:19-21: [Jesus is saying,] "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
It's All About Now:
Apollo Creed said something poignant when was telling Rocky Balboa about an upcoming boxing match. Rocky was saying, "I'll do that tomorrow." Apollo would shout back, "There IS No tomorrow."
The message is, "Take care of today. Get what you can today. For there is no tomorrow." The same message is relayed in people's attitude toward houses. Back in the day, my day for example, my parents didn't buy their "forever house" right away. They purchased houses that fit the finances and the family AT THAT TIME. When finances were better and the family was bigger, we got a new house.
That's not the same now. Now it's, "We want our 5 bedroom house with 5 bathrooms for our four children that we don't have, yet. We want it all, now, so we don't have to wait for it."
The end result is, we have a house that's too big, both in size and finances that we can't take care of. It's too much for us.
The biggest problem is, we don't see a future. We don't see heaven. We only see now. We see no future past this one.
It's NOT About Now:
Jesus is very clear. It is about the future. The treasures we search for are NOT the ones of today. It's not about the 5 bedroom 5 bathroom house. It's about the eternal mansion that Jesus prepared for us to live in. It's not about the cars, houses, and money. They are only tools which we use. It is about the life that we have with Jesus BOTH now AND forever. Our focus is on heavenly treasures, eternal treasures.
Its' About Life with God:
And when we focus upon the life that we have in Jesus Christ, everything else falls into perspective and place. It's like the house. Will we get to the 5 bedroom, 5 bathroom house? Maybe, the Lord willing. What if we don't? Life's not over. Because our life is defined by Jesus and what He did. Jesus has already given us what we need now, AND what we will receive in the future. There is our focus.
What's your reaction? What do you think? Let me know.
Pastor Robert Hemsath joined Faith Lutheran Church and School as the Senior Pastor in January 2017. Pastor Hemsath comes to FLC from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waxahachie, TX. He has also served congregations in Aberdeen, ID and Pocatello, ID. He has been a Lutheran pastor for the past 20 years.